Dear Scott 

Assessment of the NHS Scotland workforce statistics

I am writing with an update of our assessment of the NHS Scotland workforce statistics published by NHS Education for Scotland (NES). The data are valued and have a variety of different uses, for example, to inform national wage negotiations, workforce planning, applications for training funding, the impact of investment in training and for comparative benchmarking. Users have also welcomed developments, such as the way the data are presented using a flexible data dashboard. 

As you are aware, the NES statistics team is working on a range of improvements to the statistics. These plans include development of the collection, storage and processing of the underlying data and working with users to further enhance the presentation of the statistics. For example: 

  • Reviewing statistical leadership within NES and the role of the statistical governance team in Public Health Scotland, which currently provides support. 
  • Working with data suppliers to explore how workforce data definitions can be made congruent with wider labour force data definitions, such as those used in the Labour Force Survey. This will allow them to compare data across the UK and to link to data from other sources to provide more insight. 
  • Reducing the burden on data suppliers, and widening the coverage of the statistics, by securing data from existing administrative sources, such as national vacancies data for all NHS professional groups. 

We consider that it would be beneficial to formally pause the assessment to allow this work to continue. We will keep in regular touch with the statistics team at NES to obtain progress updates and pick up the assessment again, perhaps during 2024. 

I am copying this letter to Camilla Somers, Principal Information Development Manager, Public Health Scotland and Colin Tilley, Programme Director, NHS Education for Scotland. 

Yours sincerely

Mark Pont
Assessment Programme Lead