About workforce vacancies in Scotland
Recruitment and retention of senior medical staff across the NHS in Scotland is one of the biggest challenges facing the health service. Every vacant position increases the pressure on overstretched staff and erodes the ability of the NHS to provide the level of care that Scotland’s population requires.
BMA Scotland has developed medical workforce vacancy heatmaps for general practice and secondary care – to help contextualise the increasing workforce challenge facing the NHS in Scotland. We are urging Scottish Government and Health Boards in Scotland to acknowledge the medical workforce crisis in Scotland and improve recruitment and retention of doctors.
The heatmaps are based on vacancy rates and ratio of headcount to Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) in each board area set out in the annual GP workforce survey and FoI data used to establish real consultant vacancy rates and describe the WTE vacancy rate per 100,000 patients for each Health Board area.
General practice vacancies in Scotland
Hover over sections of the map to see GP WTE *vacancies for each Health Board.
*Last updated: 8 June 2023
Consultant vacancies in Scotland
Hover to see Consultant WTE *vacancies for each Health Board.
*Last updated: 8 June 2023
Our analysis and methodology
- GP vacancy information is based on the General Practice workforce survey 2022 published by Public Health Scotland. We have used GP practice registered populations to determine the WTE vacancy rate per 100,000 patients. GP practice registered populations are calculated by Public Health Scotland using the Community Health Index (CHI). The CHI population is higher than other estimates of population by around 250,000 people because it includes people who: have left the country for a short period of time, are overseas visitors registered with a GP in Scotland, and students who have moved from Scotland but who have not registered with another GP practice in the UK.
- Consultant vacancies have been calculated based on information provided by Health Boards in September 2022 in response to Freedom of Information requests by BMA Scotland. This means the vacancy rate builds in an estimate of vacancies that are not normally recorded in the public data, including temporarily filled posts, posts not yet advertised, and vacancies that have existed for so long that they are no longer advertised.
- We provide an Excel spreadsheet containing the full information and details of the population and FOI data used to produce the information in the heatmaps above. The spreadsheet also includes the consultant vacancy data published by NHS Education for Scotland for comparative purposes.