Workforce planning and projections

Workforce planning

Effective workforce planning ensures we have the right people in the right place at the right time to continue to deliver high quality care that meets the needs of Scotland’s population.

Workforce planning is a statutory requirement and was established in NHSScotland in 2005 with HDL (2005) 52: National Workforce Planning Framework 2005 - Guidance. This provided boards with a base for establishing workforce planning as an important part of the wider planning systems within NHSScotland. The guidance was revised in 2011 with the Chief Executive's letter - CEL 32 (2011)

All NHS health boards are required to develop workforce plans, as well as using workforce workload tools. These are used to assess if service redesign or changes in skill mix are required to best meet the needs of their population.

Part 1 of the National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan was published in June 2017 and sets out how we will work with partners to secure sustainable NHS staffing.

Part 2 of the National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan, published jointly with COSLA was published in December 2017 and introduces a framework for improving workforce planning for social care in Scotland.

Part 3 of the National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan was published in April 2018 and sets out our strategy to recruit new and retain existing GPs, along with our plans for the wider primary care workforce.

A fully integrated health and social care workforce plan will be published later in 2019.

A new National Health and Social Care Workforce Planning Programme Board, has been established to support implementation of the recommendations arising from the three parts of the published plan.

This approach will enable different workforce planning systems to take stock, and move towards improved integrated planning across the full health and social care landscape.

Workforce projections

NHS boards provided workforce projections for 2019/2020, based on staff in post whole time equivalent (WTE). We used the information to publish our NHS Board Projected Staff in Board post changes for 2019 to 2020 in August 2019. 

The projections were provided according to our data collection timetable and guidance. The completed returns also contained a narrative/rationale which describes the projected changes resulting from service redesign and reconfiguration.

The workforce planning community across NHSScotland use the Six Steps Methodology to Integrated Workforce Planning to project changes in their workforce. The tools should be used as part of a triangulated approach incorporating professional judgement with quality measures.

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

We have produced guidance for NHS Boards on submitting workforce projections online.