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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

Response to the consultation on Privacy Impact Assessment for the workforce Minimum Data Set collection

The response to this consultation is available.

One of the NHS Digital's commitments to the PIA was to publish a Fair Processing Notice template.

A fair processing notice is a document for employers to provide to staff which will explain how their individual data will be used.

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.

NHS Digital and Skills for Care working together to understand the independent sector workforce

As the independent healthcare sector recruits from the same pool as the NHS it is important the future needs of the sector are factored in to workforce plans and education commissioning, in the same way that the adult social care workforce dataset will do for the social care sector. Skills for Care's Workforce Intelligence Team continue to work with NHS Digital to ensure that where workforce data is already collected via NMDS-SC from NHS funded provision that this will not be replicated or duplicated by the wMDS.

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: 3 August 2021 9:52 am