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Workforce Projections


The guidance for the workforce planning framework is contained within Chief Executives Letter - CEL 32 (2011) with specific reference to workforce projections within points 3 and 4. As stated within CEL 32 (2011), the workforce projections only present part of the picture in predicting NHSScotland’s workforce requirements.

While every effort should be taken to advance workforce planning on an integrated basis, this should not prevent NHS Boards from providing data and information on possible workforce developments over the 3 year period.  Assumptions used and their associated likelihood should be clearly stated in the narrative areas provided for each job family.

NHS Boards are required to provide baseline data and projections for Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 for most staff groups. For each staff group there is a narrative section to provide details of data quality issues and assumptions used including general direction of travel, changes resulting from service redesign and reconfiguration, and the likelihood of these occurring.

Workforce projections should have already been discussed with Area Partnership Forums. In the case of the nursing and midwifery workforce, the NHS Board Director of Nursing should have professional oversight of the numbers and have endorsed these as part of the NHS Board Workforce Plan. NHS Boards should reference the National Nursing and Midwifery workforce/workload planning tools (where available) used in deriving the nursing numbers for each clinical area (as appropriate). The tools should be used as part of a triangulated approach incorporating professional judgement with quality measures. The completed returns should also contain a narrative/rationale which describes the changes resulting from service redesign and reconfiguration.

This data will continue to be used to inform nationally led processes around student commissioning and other workforce education.

Data Collection Timetable

NHS Boards should take a snapshot on April 10, 2019 for their own baseline.  This will match the same point in time ISD take the snapshot for national statistics data as at March 31, 2018.

The data collection for 2018/19 will follow the timescale as below:



28 February 2019

Issue link to projections web platform to NHS boards

10 April 2019

NHS boards take snapshot extract

May / June 2019

Web platform will be disabled for a max of two weeks so ASD can update the template to include published National Statistics workforce data as at 31 March 2017

28 June 2019*

Completed on-line template authorised and submitted.

July / August 2019

Analysis and two-way feedback between NHS boards and ASD with regards the on-line process

27 August 2019

SG report on national / regional projections, including general overview and emerging themes, nationally published.

October 2019

Wash up & focus on improvements and/or adaptations for next year


* Completed templates should be signed off by the NHS Board Chief Executive. In the case of Nursing & Midwifery and ANP workforce projections, the NHS Board Nurse Director and ANP Director respectfully, should have professional oversight and have endorsed these projections as part of the overall NHS Board Workforce Plan.