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e-Referral Service - FHIR API (HSCN)

Access the e-Referral Service (e-RS) - the national service for creating and managing paperless referrals in primary and secondary care via HSCN only.

This API is in production but deprecated. We will contact you before we agree to a retirement date.

If you are developing a new integration, consider using the e-Referral Service - FHIR API instead. If you have any concerns, contact us.


Use this API to create paperless referrals from primary to secondary care.

As a primary care referrer, you can:

  • create a new e-referral
  • search for relevant patient services to create a shortlist
  • access existing e-referrals
  • create a triage request for the Referral Assessment Service (RAS)
  • upload and manage a patient letter or attachments, linking them to a referral
  • retrieve appointment slots and book appointments
  • defer a booking to a provider if an appointment slot is unavailable

As a secondary care provider, you can:

  • access referrals as a worklist
  • retrieve non-clinical information (meta-data) about the referral
  • retrieve attachments which are linked to a referral or triage (RAS) request
  • retrieve clinical information which has been provided by a referrer
  • accept or reject a referral request
  • retrieve Advice & Guidance (A&G) conversations and send responses
  • convert Advice & Guidance (A&G) conversations into a referral

You cannot use this API to:

You can access the following data:

  • referral attachments
  • referral letters
  • appointment slots
  • worklists for referral requests
  • worklists for triage (RAS) requests
  • worklists for Advice and Guidance (A&G) requests
  • conversation histories for Advice and Guidance (A&G) requests

This API is only available over HSCN, and can only be used with CIS, not CIS2.

A healthcare worker must be present and authenticated with an NHS smartcard or a modern alternative to use this API.

For a non-technical overview of how to build software that deals with referrals and bookings, see Building healthcare software - referrals and bookings.

API status

This integration is in production but deprecated, meaning:

  • new integrations are not allowed
  • we will not make any updates to it
  • it is still available for use
  • service levels still apply

Service level

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

For more details, see service levels.

Network access

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

For more details, see Network access for APIs.

Security and authorisation

This API is user-restricted, meaning the end user must present, and must be a healthcare worker strongly authenticated with a smartcard using CIS.

This API is not compatible with CIS2.


For further details, see the e-Referral Service API Hub.

Last edited: 14 August 2023 4:26 pm