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Data Quality


NHS National Services Scotland ISD Scotland & NHS National Services Scotland

Data Quality

Workforce information is sourced from NHS Board HR and payroll systems. These are dynamic operational systems in which the data can change over time due to their live status and potential additional updates made by NHS Boards.

It is recognised that the published information does not always reflect the data used at board and regional level when planning and presenting the workforce. Accuracy of coding is crucial to the quality and credibility of the data and ISD seeks to minimise such data inaccuracies. However, responsibility for data accuracy lies with the NHS Boards providing the data.

Workforce information may change slightly over time when NHS Boards make updates to their live operational systems to resolve issues that have been identified. Changes will not be made to previously published data, as part of the regular publication process, where there is little impact on the figures at a national level.

The ISD workforce team continue to work with stakeholders on a number of data quality improvement projects and the published information will change over time to reflect these changes. Current and past data quality projects can be found below:

Current data quality projects

Electronic employee support system (e:ESS)

The e:ESS project aims to introduce a single national HR system for all boards in NHSScotland. The system will hold and manage employment information for all staff employed by NHSScotland's 22 NHS Boards, and will create a common national repository of workforce information.

e:ESS is being introduced across NHSScotland in phases with each Board at a different stage in the process. A number of boards have migrated their data to e:ESS, currently this affects location of service delivery, medical grade and medical specialty. Changes have been noted in these areas as boards review their data as part of the migration process.

Completed data quality projects

Midwifery and neonatal nurses

New sub job families were introduced to improve reports on the midwifery and neonatal workforce. These were introduced during 2013 and reported on for the first time for data as at 30th September 2013 (published in November 2013).

Community Nursing

In 2014 a national project to improve the accuracy of recording and reporting on the community nursing workforce was carried out. The aim for this review was to allow for accurate identification of those working in the various community teams. The results from this began to be reflected in the ISD National Statistics publications in December 2014 when a significant part of the review was completed.

Data prior to the review (September 2014 and earlier) is not comparable for these sub job families as there have been significant changes in the guidance. The December 2014 update was part way through the review, and the review was completed for the release of the March 2015 data, hence data between December 2014 and March 2015 is also not comparable. Nursing and midwifery data from December 2014 onwards for the affected sub job families have been removed from the staff in post, vacancy and non medical trend tables. Please see the relevant nursing and midwifery tables for further information.

Dental Care Professionals

In order to improve the ability to identify dental care professionals, six new sub job families were introduced in December 2013. These dental support sub job families represent the professions that staff are registered in - dental nursing, dental hygienist, dental hygienist-therapist, dental therapist, orthodontic therapist, clinical dental technician and dental technician. Oral health services remained as a group in which unregistered staff working within dental support were recorded. The medical and dental support job family was split into medical support and dental support.

The new job families and sub-job families were introduced in ISD Workforce published data from September 2014.

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