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Personal Demographics Service - SMSP API

Access patients' personal information, such as name, address, date of birth, related people, registered GP and NHS number using our Spine Mini Service Provider (SMSP) API.

This API is deprecated. If you are developing a new integration, use the Personal Demographics Service FHIR API.


Use this API to access the Personal Demographics Service (PDS) - the national electronic database of NHS patient details such as name, address, date of birth, related people, registered GP and NHS number.

You can:

  • verify a patient's NHS number
  • retrieve a patient's details
  • search for patient details

You cannot use this API to:

This API:

  • does not require the end user to be strongly authenticated with a smartcard
  • only returns a result from a search if there is a single, unique match - it does not return multiple matches

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, make a PDS access request

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

API status

As of 14 October 2021, this API is deprecated, meaning:

  • it is still available for use
  • full service levels still apply
  • we are unlikely to make any updates to it
  • new integrations are not allowed - although in-flight integrations may continue
  • we will retire it at some point

We have not yet decided on a retirement date - we will consult with existing users of the API before making a decision. For more details, see our interactive product backlog.

For new integrations, use the Personal Demographics Service - FHIR API.

If you are already using this API, we recommend you migrate to the PDS FHIR API.


This API is an HL7 V3 API. All interactions are synchronous.

For more details, see HL7 V3.

Network access

You need 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 application-restricted, meaning:

  • the calling application is authenticated - we do care who it is
  • the end user is not authenticated - we do not verify who it is or whether they are present

In particular, it uses TLS-MA authentication.

In addition, we require calling applications to:

  • authenticate end users locally with a minimum of user ID and password
  • use role-based access control (RBAC) locally to control end user access to the patient data
  • keep an audit trail locally of all accesses to patient data by end users

For more details, see Spine Mini Service Provider for Personal Demographics Service.


You must get your software approved by us before it can go live. We call this onboarding. 

This API is deprecated and is not available for new onboardings. If you have already started onboarding, you may continue, but be aware that this API will be retired at some point.

For details, see Spine Mini Service Provider for Personal Demographics Service.


For a full list of interactions for this API, download the PDS Mini Services Domain Message Specification in the zip file below.

Last edited: 19 October 2021 6:43 am