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Around 1.2 million people make up the NHS workforce in England, all contributing towards its overall effectiveness. Staffing is the single largest cost within the health system, so efforts to improve quality and reduce costs are often dependent on workforce data.
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.
Data is collected on the number of GPs working in England, information on GP practices, GP practice staff, GP patients and services provided, earnings and expenses. Related data is collected from dental practitioners and high street ophthalmic service providers. GP earnings data is based on a sample of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) self-assessment tax database.
Aggregate data is collected on all written complaints, including number of complaints, type of complaint, age of patients, type of service, type of staff involved and whether the complaint was resolved.
Hospital and community health service workforce data is mainly taken from the Electronic Staff Record, and includes staff numbers, bank staff, turnover, earnings, absence and a variety of career details.
We assemble data using a combination of processes:
- Secure Electronic File Transfer
- the General Practice Extraction Service
- Strategic Data Collection Service
- Workforce Minimum Data Set collection
- Clinical Audit Platform
A primary care web tool is used to receive the primary care collection directly from GP practices.
Data for ophthalmic practitioners and services is entered onto the central ophthalmic payments system through the Open Exeter system.
NHS payments to GPs is collected through the Integrated Single Finance Environment (ISFE), and the National Health Applications and Infrastructure (NHAIS).
Hospital and community health service workforce data is taken from the Electronic Staff Record.
Data regarding vacancies is extracted from NHS Jobs.
Analyse and interpret
Workforce data is analysed in terms of both headcount and full-time equivalents.
Analysis of GP earnings is carried out by HMRC statisticians, and aggregated data is supplied to us. Investment in general practice is analysed separately by payment for drugs and by costs of other services.
The number of dentists is reported and analysed by age group. Dental workforce data also includes their NHS England locality, contract type and gender. The number of children and adults seen by a dentist in the last 24 months is analysed by proportion of those seen in each area. Courses of treatment are analysed by treatment band (1-3 or urgent), by demographic (paying adult, child, non-paying adult) and by type of treatment. Total orthodontic treatments are reported.
The number of ophthalmic practitioners is analysed by gender, job role (optometrist versus ophthalmic medical practitioner) and number per 100,000 population.
Monthly data quality processes are carried out such as The Workforce Validation Engine (WoVen) which is used to identify data quality issues, identified in information held on the Electronic Staff Record (ESR) system.
We publish a range of statistical reports, including:
- NHS Workforce statistics
- Data on the GP workforce
- Publication on NHS written complaints in England
- Publication on Ophthalmic practitioners
- Publication on the General Dental Workforce
Additional publications include:
- Annual Dental Earnings and Expenses
- Annual Dental Working Hours
- Annual GP Earnings and Expenses
- Annual Investment in General Practice
- NHS Payments to General Practice
- Dentist survey results
- NHS Vacancies
We produce and issue Doctor Index Numbers (DINs) that enable GPs to prescribe medicines and other products available on prescription.
Hospital and community health service workforce data is disseminated in the form of tables in monthly publications and a web-based tool called iView. Publications include:
- NHS Workforce Statistics in England (monthly)
- Sickness Absence Rates in England (monthly)
- NHS Staff Earnings (Quarterly)
We also disseminate statistics on NHS staff numbers in the form of tables responding to Parliamentary Questions, Freedom of Information requests and other ad-hoc data questions.
These data sets are used by the Department of Health and Social Care, Health Education England and other organisations for workforce planning and to monitor policy.
Data is also used to analyse staff turnover, identify trends for workforce planning and to monitor policy. Staffing is the single largest cost within the health system, so efforts to improve quality and reduce costs are often dependent on this data.