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Workforce Minimum Data Set (wMDS)

In an NHS with an increasingly diverse range of providers, collecting comprehensive workforce information will become ever more difficult. In order to address this, the Health and Social Care Act 2012 places a duty on all organisations that deliver care funded by the NHS to provide data on their current workforce and to share their anticipated future workforce needs.

The Workforce Information Architecture (WIA) workstream was established in 2011 by the Department of Health (DH) as part of the wider reform of Education and Training. Within this workstream there was requirement to develop a Workforce Minimum Data Set (wMDS), a subset of the existing National Workforce Data Set (NWD) standard, to support high quality education and training commissioning. This work seeks to ensure that with refinement the minimum data set remains suitable for the purpose of collecting workforce information from all providers of NHS funded services from April 2013. The wMDS meets the requirements of workforce planners and will enable them to effectively plan and commission the future qualified workforce to meet the needs of local providers.

This web page summarises the Workforce Minimum Data Set (wMDS) and its development and implementation guidance.

News update

National Workforce Reporting System (NWRS)

We have developed a facility for General Practice and Primary Care Network organisations to submit the wMDS using the NWRS.

Further information on the NWRS, including detailed user guidance, can be found on the NWRS information page.

Workforce Information Architecture

A letter was sent to area teams on 21 October 2014 asking them to provide general practice managers with an update on the progress of the Workforce Information Architecture and advising of the steps primary care practices need to take to meet their responsibilities under the Health and Social Care Act 2012. Read the letter.

For further details on the outputs of the Workforce Information Architecture workstream, please see the Department of Health and Social Care website.

The current and developing list of guidance documents available includes:

The template for the wMDS available as a single Excel file with four tabs, or as four separate text files:

A more detailed specification to help with the completion of the template, including the data formats and also an explanation of which data items are required for different types of organisations:

As this web page and the resources it contains remain in development all interested stakeholders should ensure they regularly review this website for the latest updates on the development of the wMDS and its corresponding guidance documents.

If you would like to receive regular updates directly when changes have been made, please sign-up to our mailing list by e-mailing and stating that your request is for updates on the Workforce Minimum Data Set.

Further information

Last edited: 18 March 2022 12:34 pm