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Demographics Batch Service

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


Use this batch message integration 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 (see interactions below) and submit it to the DBS Implementation Team at [email protected]. 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.

Who can use this message integration

This message integration can only be used where there is a legal basis to do so. Make sure you have a valid use case before you go too far with your development. To do this, make a PDS access request.

You must do this before you can go live (see ‘Onboarding’ below).


This message integration is in production.

Service level

This message integration is a gold service, meaning it is operational and supported 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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

This message integration is available on the internet and on the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN).

For more details, see Network access for APIs.

Security and authorisation

This message integration uses the Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) which is a network protocol that provides secure file access, file transfer, and file management capabilities.

Environments and testing

For further details on environment setup and testing, see section 4 Getting started with DBS in the DBS user guide.


You must get your software onboarded before it can go live.

Contact the demographics team before onboarding with this message integration.


For a full list of interactions for this message integration, see the DBS User Guide.

DBS user guide

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


Last edited: 14 September 2023 6:03 pm