Recommended data sources and collections

Published: Aug 18, 2010

Accurate data is critical for workforce modelling. The CfWI is therefore currently mapping and reviewing what information is available, and how quality could be assessed and improved.

As part of this work, we have identified more than 60 data sources and collections. From these, we have selected the ones that the CfWI has found most useful for workforce modelling and planning. These are all in the list of identified data sources and collections below, and can also be accessed from our resources database. Note that not all of this information is available to users outside the NHS.

Go to the CfWI resources database

In line with our work on maturity measures for workforce models, the CfWI is also looking at corresponding measures for data collections. This is likely to be based on the six dimensions of data quality as defined by the Audit Commission in the report Figures you can trust – a briefing on data quality in the NHS.

The regulatory authorities and professional bodies for the different health and social care professions hold registers of their members. These can be a very useful source of workforce information. Some of the professions that hold registers are in the second list, of regulatory authorities and professional bodies below.

The CfWI has access to a wide range of published and unpublished data collections and it may be possible to supply data, provided that this is permitted by the governance arrangements. We may also be able to recommend sources of data for specific modelling needs.

List of identified data sources and collections

Association of Public Health Observatories (APHO)

APHO provides information on people’s health and health care, highlighting issues and trends. They provide health profiles for all regions, strategic health authorities and local authorities in England. See for example: Health profile of England 2009 (PDF) Health profiles interactive maps

Care Quality Commission (CQC)

The CQC is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. It holds a database of registrations and inspections of providers of adult social care and independent health care providers. Useful reports include those on the quality and capacity of adult social care services (England 2008/09) NHS patient and staff surveys, and on NHS patient and staff surveys.

Connecting for Health: Secondary Uses Service (SUS)

Connecting for Health provide the Secondary Uses Service (SUS). SUS is designed to provide anonymous patient-based data for purposes other than direct clinical care, for example healthcare planning, commissioning, public health, performance improvement and national policy development.

NHS Information Centre (NHS IC)

NHS IC holds a wide range of statistics and data collections including on hospital care, mental health, population, primary care, social care and the workforce. The following are particularly useful for workforce modelling:

  • Health Poverty Index (HPI)
  • Hospital Episode Statistics (HES)
  • NHS staff numbers, earnings and turnover
  • NHS and GP vacancies
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs)
  • Personal Social Services Expenditure and Unit Cost.

NHS iView

This resource provides aggregated and social care data to authorised NHS users


nomis is a web-based database of labour market statistics run on behalf of the ONS by the University of Durham. It provides customised queries and downloads, and access to a wide range of ONS data.

Skills for Care National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS–SC)

Skills for Care maintains the National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC), which provides comprehensive information on the services and the social care workforce.

Skills for Health: Health Functional Map

Skills for Health is the sector skills council for the health sector. They provide a range of information relevant to workforce modelling including:

UK National Statistics

National statistics for areas including the economy, health and social care, the labour market, migration, and population.

Office for National Statistics. The ONS produces independent information on the UK’s economy and society, and is the government’s largest statistical provider, for example:

  • Annual Business Inquiry (ABI) – Section Q: Human health and social work activities
  • Focus on Health (report)
  • Health Statistics Quarterly (HSQ)
  • Inter-Departmental Business Register
  • Labour Force Survey.

Warwick Institute for Employment Research (IER)

The Warwick IER performs labour-market and socio-economic research. Projections of labour-market developments focusing on occupational change are available in the Working Futures series of reports.

World Health Organisation (WHO)

The WHO provides leadership and research in public health across a wide range of areas, including the health workforce.

List of regulatory authorities and professional bodies

General Dental Council (GDC)

The GDC regulates dental professionals in the UK.

Health Professions Councils (HPC)

The HPC currently regulates 15 health professions: arts therapists, biomedical scientists, chiropodists/podiatrists, clinical scientists, dietitians, hearing aid dispensers, occupational therapists, operating department practitioners, orthoptists, paramedics, physiotherapists, practitioner psychologists, prosthetists /orthotists, radiographers, and speech and language therapists. New professions are added to this list from time to time.

General Medical Council (GMC)

General Optical Council (GOC)

Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (RPSGB)

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMWC)

General Osteopathic Council (GOsC)

General Chiropractic Council (GCC)

British Medical Association (BMA)

Chartered bodies:

Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

College of Emergency Medicine

College of Optometrists

Royal College of Anaesthetists

Royal College of General Practitioners

Royal College of Midwives

Royal College of Nursing

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Royal College of Ophthalmologists

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Royal College of Pathologists

Royal College of Physicians of London

Royal College of Psychiatrists

Royal College of Radiologists

Royal College of Surgeons of England