NHS workforce at new record high

Published: 01 Mar 2022 09:50

Staff levels increase for ten consecutive years.

NHS Scotland’s workforce has reached a record high of more than 155,000 whole time equivalent (WTE) staff.

The number of doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, allied health professionals, and support staff working across Scotland’s hospitals and in communities increased by over 7,000 in the past year alone.

Staffing  levels have now increased for ten consecutive years in NHS Scotland and have grown by over 28,500 (WTE) since 2006, meaning an extra 22.6% staff working in the health service

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “Under this Government, staffing in Scotland’s NHS has risen to record highs and our long-term investment in this workforce has accelerated since the outset of the pandemic.

“I would like to pay tribute to the dedication and commitment of our frontline healthcare staff for the vital role they have played in keeping us all safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Work is ongoing to further enhance NHS workforce levels and support Health Boards to fill posts as our investment in NHS staffing continues to create significant numbers of new roles in the system.

"Our record £300 million of new investment helped services deal with system pressures over winter and the £1 billion NHS Recovery Plan introduced a range of direct workforce investments.  This has included new measures to support Boards’ capacity for both domestic and international recruitment.

"Scotland has the best paid NHS staff in the UK and we have made £12 million available in the last year to support the wellbeing of the workforce."



  • The NHS Workforce statistics show total staff paid directly by NHS Scotland as at end December 2021 is now 155,834.1 whole time equivalent (WTE) or 180,653 headcount.
  • NHS Scotland’s staffing levels are up by 28,772.2 WTE since September 2006. That is a 22.6% increase.
  • NHS Scotland staffing levels have increased by 7,197.4 WTE, or 4.8%, from the same point last year and by 9.4% since December 2019 .
  • NHS Scotland has higher staffing per head than NHS England – 28.5 WTE staff per 1,000 people in Scotland (Dec 2021), compared to 21.4 in England WTE (Oct 2021).