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Personal Demographics Service Notifications - FHIR

Receive notifications about changes to a patient's demographic details, including record change, birth, death, change of address and change of GP.


Sending System
Sending System
publish event
publish event
send event to all
subscribing systems
send event to all...
System B
System A
System C
manage subscriptions
manage subscriptions
Text is not SVG - cannot display A publication-subscription model using NEMS allows sharing of this information, in a controlled way, with health and care workers in other organisations


Use this integration to receive notifications about changes to a patient's demographic details, including:

  • birth notifications - although another option is PDS HL7 V3 API
  • death notifications
  • change of address
  • change of GP
  • any record change (beta) - to notify subscribers to synchronise their local PDS patient database

We share information about these events with healthcare workers in other organisations such as GPs, Emergency Departments and Local Authorities.

This integration uses a publish-subscribe model - the sending system publishes events to National Events Management Service (NEMS), and NEMS forwards the events to all subscribed systems via Message Exchange for Social Care and Health (MESH).

For example, when we update Personal Demographics Service (PDS) with a birth, PDS sends a birth notification event containing information about the birth to NEMS. NEMS then sends the event to all healthcare workers who have subscribed to receive birth notifications.

Who can use this

This 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, 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).

Status and roadmap

This integration is in production.

The PDS Record Change event is in production, beta.

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

Service level

This integration uses NEMS which is a bronze service, meaning it is operational and supported only during business hours (8am to 6pm), Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays.

It also uses MESH which is a silver service, meaning it is operational 24 hours a day, 365 days a year but only supported during business hours (8am to 6pm), Monday to Friday excluding Bank Holidays.

For more details, see service levels.


This integration uses a publish-subscribe model.

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

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

NEMS is a FHIR API. Specifically it uses FHIR STU3.

Network access

This integration uses NEMS and MESH, both of which are 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 integration uses the NEMS and MESH APIs, both of 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, NEMS and MESH both uses TLS-MA authentication.

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

Environments and testing

This integration 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 contact us
Production Internet contact us

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 integration. 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 integration, contact us.


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

This integration supports the following event types:

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

Last edited: 7 November 2023 11:11 am