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Digital Child Health - FHIR API

Share information about a child's health between healthcare workers. 


Use this API to share information about a child's health between healthcare workers.

This information is recorded throughout a child's clinical pathway or patient journey about:

  • health events
  • clinical contacts 

These events or contacts happen either as part of:

  • a planned Healthy Child Programme
  • unplanned GP or Emergency Department visits

Examples of such events include creating, updating or deleting a record of a:

  • blood spot test outcome
  • newborn hearing test
  • Newborn and Infant Physical Examination (NIPE) outcome

This API enables the sharing of information about these events in the form of small, structured and interoperable health event FHIR messages.

A publication-subscription model allows sharing of this information, in a controlled way, with health and care workers in other organisations such as GPs, Emergency Departments and Local Authorities. This uses our National Events Management Service (NEMS).

Potentially, patients and carers could also share this information.

For more information see Digital Child Health - FHIR API.

Before you begin any development work using this API, contact us to discuss your best options.

Who can use this API

This API 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, contact us

For details of the legal basis for sharing NEMS events, see the NEMS controller catalogue.

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

API status and roadmap

This API is in beta.

To see our roadmap, or to suggest, comment or vote on features for this API, see our interactive product backlog.

Service level

This API is a bronze service, meaning it is available and supported only during business hours (8am to 6pm), Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.

For more details, see service levels.


This API is a FHIR API.

It uses a publish-subscribe model and is specifically based on the HL7 FHIR STU3 Messaging Implementation.

Use our National Events Management Service (NEMS) API to subscribe to events.

Use our MESH API to collect event messages that you have subscribed to.

For more details, see FHIR.

Network access

This API 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 API uses NEMS and MESH APIs which are application-restricted, meaning we authenticate the calling application but not the end user.

You can use this pattern as follows:

  • unattended (end user not present), for example as part of a back end process to check NHS numbers for data flowing from one system to another

  • attended (end user present) - in which case, you must ensure the end user is authenticated and suitably authorised locally by the calling application

In particular, this API uses TLS-MA authentication.

It also implements authorisation controls which restrict the event types that the connecting application can subscribe to or publish.

For more details, see application-restricted APIs.

Environments and testing

This API uses NEMS, which is available in Opentest for early development and testing.

NEMS is also available for testing purposes in:

  • development (DEV)

  • integration (INT)

  • deployment (DEP)

The base URLs are as follows:

Environment Network availability URL
OpenTest OpenVPN
Development HSCN
Integration HSCN
Integration Internet
Deployment HSCN
Production HSCN To be supplied
Production Internet To be supplied

The  base URL for the publishing and subscribing interactions are the same, but the path is different, for example:

  • publish in integration over HSCN:$process-message
  • subscribe in integration over HSCN:
  • publish in integration over the internet:$process-message
  • subscribe in integration over the internet:

There is a testing tool which allows you to simulate a provider publishing event messages. You can also simulate making changes on PDS to trigger PDS-published event messages so you can test event message consumption.

To get advice on how to begin testing, contact us.

For more details, see the NEMS onboarding guide on getting access to Opentest and the integration (INT) test environment.


You need to get your software approved by us before it can go live with this API. We call this onboarding. The onboarding process can sometimes be quite long, so it’s worth planning well ahead.

To outline your use case and start the onboarding process for this API, contact us.


For a full list of interactions for this API, see Publish an Event Message and Subscriptions Overview.

This API supports the following event types:

For details on the general structure of the interactions, see FHIR.

Last edited: 17 January 2022 4:15 pm