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Demographics Batch Service API

Submit a file of patient information to the Spine for tracing against the Personal Demographics Service (PDS).


Use this API to submit a file of patient information to the Spine for tracing against the Personal Demographics Service (PDS) for direct care purposes.

The service is provided for organisations that do not want to write their own software - typically NHS trusts or local authorities.

It returns a limited set of PDS data items, as for PDS SMSP.

It requires PDS access approval before you can use it.

You can:

  • install a DBS client in a secure location, for example in a server room not a desktop PC
  • download and complete the DBS End Point Registration form (below under Additional guidance) and submit it to the DBS Implementation Team at You should receive endpoint information within 7 days.
  • submit a test file to DBS to confirm connectivity over Secure FTP
  • use the DBS client to submit batch trace requests and receive batch responses to them

DBS requires a secure network connection. It is an offline service so does not require smartcards.

API status

This API is stable.

Service level

This API is a gold service, meaning it is operational and supported 24 x 7 x 365.

For more details, see service levels.


DBS accepts fixed length text files or comma separated variable (CSV) files via the DBS client.

The DBS client is a Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) client that sends a specifically formatted file to the Spine which is then used to interrogate PDS. DBS notifies the DBS client user when a response is available, who can then receive the response file.

Network access

You need a Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) connection to use this API.

For more details, see Network access for APIs.


For a full list of interactions for this API, see the DBS User Guide under Additional guidance.

Additional guidance

DBS user guide

These are a Portable Document Format file and an Excel spreadsheet. To request a different format, contact us

Last edited: 19 January 2022 4:29 pm