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Personal Demographics Service - SMSP API

Access patients' personal information, such as name, address, date of birth and related people, using our SMSP 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 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

Legal use

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). 

Related APIs

The following APIs also give access to the Personal Demographics Service:

The following APIs are also related to this API:

API status

This API is stable.


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

For more details, see HL7 V3.

Network access

You can access this API via:

It requires a secure network connection but not smartcards, because it only returns a single exact match to a trace request and does not allow updates to the Spine service.

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. 

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


Last edited: 11 December 2020 9:23 am