In January 2008 the Information Services Division (ISD), for the first time, published NHSScotland Workforce information to reflect the introduction of Agenda for Change. At the time it was widely accepted that NHSScotland was in a transition, both in terms of a new pay structure and new information systems to collect and report workforce information. As a result it was recognised that the presentation of information describing the workforce would evolve over time.
The published data, as found within the ISD website, presents information by AfC job families and sub job families. It is however recognised that the published information does not always reflect the data used at Board and Regional level when planning and presenting the workforce. As with all data systems, accuracy of coding is crucial to the quality and credibility of the data and NHS Boards have been encouraged to ensure that there are measures in place to confirm and sustain data quality.
However it is acknowledged that quality issues remain, particularly around the assimilation to AfC, where NHS Boards believe that the published data (staff in post) does not truly reflect what they hold on their local systems. In an attempt to address these on-going data quality issues, ISD has been working in conjunction with the ISD Workforce Reference Group, and ISD Workforce Statistics Steering Group, to establish a Workforce Statistics - Staff in Post Data Quality project plan.
This project team have developed a Data Quality 6 Steps plan [306K] aimed to not only address data quality issues, but also explore historical practices and cultural issues. The plan has therefore been divided into the following work streams;
- Step 1 - Staff in Post - Data Quality
- Step 2 - Data Flows
- Step 3 - Training and Awareness
- Step 4 - Best Practice
- Step 5 - Key Workforce Planning Variables
- Step 6 - Wider Integration
Since the introduction of this data quality 6 steps plan, ISD have worked collaboratively with all 14 NHS Boards, and 5 of the 8 special Boards to further explore data quality issues. Whilst this remains an on-going process, to date this plan has ensured that more robust and accurate information on the NHSScotland Workforce is captured and reported.
The aims and objectives of the project have already gained support from HRDs across NHS Scotland. As this project aims to explore historical practices and cultural issues, it is acknowledged that any findings or recommendations will help to inform and feed into the proposed national HR system that is to be implemented across NHSScotland.
It is likely that over time this plan will evolve and therefore the most up to date versions will continue to be made available within these web pages.
Data Quality issues 2011-2012
- As of the 1st November 2011, NHSScotland (NHSS) has responsibility for employing Healthcare staff within prisons. Previously, these people were employed directly by the Scottish Prison Service (SPS). This has resulted in approximately 350 staff (Headcount) transferring to NHSS. These staff were included in the figures for 31st December 2011 for the first time, as well as in subsequent releases. It is therefore important to take account of this when comparing trends across previous years. As part of the transfer process, each member of staff will be allocated to an agenda for change (AfC) job family. This will allow these staff to be appropriately counted within their relevant staff group, for example; Nursing and Midwifery or Allied Health Professions. However, NHS Boards are still in the process of allocating these staff to an appropriate job family. At present, some of these staff have not been assigned a job family, and therefore are defined as ‘unallocated’ and presented within the ‘overall’ staff in post table only.
- The increase in Practice Nurses in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde as at June 2012 is mainly due to HMP staff transferring over to the health board.
- As of the 3rd August 2011, National Education for Scotland (NES) has taken responsibility for employing GP Specialty Trainees while they are in the GP component of their training. Previously, these trainees were employed by individual GP practices. As a result, the medical staffing reported within the ISD Workforce statistics as from September 2011, has increased by; 477 (Headcount) and 449.9 (WTE). It is therefore important to take account of these additional medical staff when comparing trends across previous years.
The ISD Workforce Statistics tables that are impacted as a result of the above change include;
- Medical staff in post table; Doctors in Training staff group
- HCHS by specialty; General Practice staff group
- HCHS by grade; Doctors in Training (no National Training Number) staff group.
As part of on-going IT developments, during 2011 ISD workforce information was migrated in to an ISD workforce data mart. The transfer of these data provided the opportunity to review, and improve, the quality of the information previously reported. However in some instances, for historic workforce data, only the high level staff groupings could be reviewed. For this reason, the numbers presented within the ‘Overall staff table’ for the staff groups; Medical (HCHS) and Dental (HCHS), for the years 2002, 2005 and 2007, will vary slightly to those numbers published within the more detailed staff grouping tables, including; Medical staff in post table, HCHS by specialty and HCHS by grade.
Staff group specific information
- From 2007, unallocated / not known staff are those employees who through AfC have not been assigned to a staff group.
- During 2010 ISD has been working with National Education for Scotland (NES) to address staff in post data quality issues. This remains an on-going process where the quality of the data is continually improving.
- Due to improvements in data quality the GP figures for September 2011 have been updated, this has resulted in a decrease of 45 headcount from the previously published figure.
- The increase in overall staff in NHS Shetland is a false inflation. This was due to staff being included in the SWISS system before their contracts had actually begun.
Non Medical staff
Nursing and midwifery staff in post
- In order to support the workforce planning cycle and to ensure the workforce staff in post information accurately reflects local service provision, NHS Tayside have continued to realign staff to appropriate job and sub job family groupings. This has included the re-alignment of nursing staff and it is therefore important to acknowledge this when interpretation the statistics reported within the nursing & midwifery table.
- As part of AfC each member of staff should be allocated a location of service delivery code. The location of service delivery code reflects where the staff member provides the majority of care. It is recommended that the category other is only used in exceptional circumstances. ISD workforce will continue to work with NHS boards to ensure staff are accurately coded within the location of service delivery category.
- The increase in the number of bank staff is due to coding issues within NHS Lothian. It is currently unknown if a proportion of these staff hold a bank contract and therefore should not be included within the staff in post information. NHS Lothian is currently working towards resolving these coding issues.
Allied health professions
- Sonography staff are presented under the radiography category and cannot be explicitly identified in the tables until further data is collected from NHS Boards as SWISS progresses.
Emergency, administrative and support services: staff in post
- ISD have been working with National Education for Scotland (NES) to address staff in post data quality issues. This remains an on-going process where the quality of the data is continually improving. ISD will continue to work with NES to ensure any remaining data quality issues are resolved.
Nursing and midwifery staff in post
- In order to support the workforce planning cycle and to ensure the workforce staff in post information accurately reflects local service provision, NHS Tayside have continued to realign staff to appropriate job and sub job family groupings. This has included the re-alignment of nursing staff and it is therefore important to acknowledge this when interpretation the statistics reported within the nursing and midwifery table.
- As part of AfC each member of staff should be allocated a location of service delivery code. The location of service delivery code reflects where the staff member provides the majority of care. It is recommended that the category other is only used in exceptional circumstances. ISD workforce will continue to work with NHS Boards to ensure staff are accurately coded within the location of service delivery category.
Healthcare scientists staff in post
- During April 2010, new post descriptors were established to allow for more accurate recording of staff appearing within the healthcare scientists staff category. Data is currently in a transitional state due to the recent introduction of these categories and is therefore subject to change as recording improves.