About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland provides information on estimated whole time equivalent (WTE) of GPs in Scotland up to 2022, broken down by age and sex, GP designation and NHS Board. It also provides estimates of headcount and WTE for nurses at general practices in Scotland.

Revisions statement

Revised - 15 November 2023

The first point of the publication summary has been removed and combined with a revised second main point on the publication summary. This has been revised to make the interpretation of the data clearer, explaining the dynamic nature of the trend.

Revised - 21 December 2022

A minor error was uncovered with the GP headcount and WTE for 2013-2017 and this has now been corrected to match the 2019 publication. The error did not have an impact on any calculations or interpretations of the data. The summary and dashboard have also been corrected.

The second main point has been revised to make the interpretation of the data clearer.

Main points

  • The estimated GP WTE has decreased by 3.3% between 2019 and 2022 while headcount has gone up by 2.6%. This gap is due to some GPs reducing their number of sessions per week and GPs leaving the workforce who were delivering on average more sessions per week than the new GPs joining. This pattern is reflected in the changing profile of the GP workforce over time which now has more female than male GPs (female GPs work fewer sessions on average than male GPs).R
  • The estimated WTE for all nurses in General Practice was 1,690 (based on 37 hours or more per week being full time), the same as the previous survey in 2019.
Image caption GP Headcount and estimated nurse headcount, and estimated GP and nurse WTE in Scotland, 2013 to 2022R


The National Primary Care Workforce Survey (external website) was last carried out in 2017. It was replaced in 2019 by a GP Data Collection Tool (external website), and the first results were published in the General practice workforce survey in 2021. The GP Data Collection Tool (external website) was used again to collect data on the GP, nurse and other professional workforce in general practice in 2022. Information on the Primary Care out of hours workforce will be published separately in early 2023.

Figures for GP headcount have been taken from the National Primary Care Clinicians Database (NPCCD), which is used in the annual GP Workforce and Practice List Sizes publication. These figures have also been used when estimating GP WTE from this data collection. Nurse WTE and nurse headcount are estimated based on practice population. For more details on the methodology used, see the Methodology section of the main report.

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If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email phs.generalpractice@phs.scot.

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 21 March 2024
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