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Creating a new NHS England: Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England have merged. More about the merger.

Data Registers Service: supporting information

Useful information about how data registers are managed and maintained.

There are currently two formats by which the registers data can be accessed and consumed. See the 'Getting started' page for more information on downloading data into a .csv format and the 'API user endpoints' pages for more information on consuming via the API.

Updating the registers

We work closely with data suppliers to ensure our registers are kept up to date. If there are any issues with an update or expected delays, we will alert users via our 'Latest news' pages. The summary information for each register will display the date of last update, as well as the type of update performed on any given register. See Update types (below) for more information on how our various update methodologies operate.

Handling changes to registers

A data supplier may decide to cease production of any given register, or change the format of the data. Where known, we will always tell you in advance of any changes to our registers service.

Update types

Registers will be updated using one of the following update processes:

Full refresh

This truncates all existing records in the register and then loads the entire contents of the source file into the register. This generally means that no history of records is maintained (unless included in the source data).

Type 1

This update method overwrites existing records where there is an update to that record (matching on the key), and therefore does not keep historical data. A type 1 change (where the key of the incoming record already exists in the table) would update the existing record. A new record would be inserted if the key doesn’t already exist in the table.

Type 2

This update method keeps a history of changes to the data. A new row is inserted into the register each time a record is updated or there is a new record. Multiple records can exist for a particular Business Key (this is generally the code column) with the history of records for a particular Business Key being managed using Business/Record Start and End Dates to reflect when the record was active. The current record can be identified as it will have a NULL Business/Record End Date. When a record is being updated, the incoming record matches (on the Business Key) with the most up to date (current) record in the table. The Business/Record End Date of the current record is populated with the Business/Record Start Date of the incoming record minus one day and then the incoming record is inserted into the table. If the Business Key of the incoming record doesn’t match an existing record in the register then it will be inserted as a new record. The majority of our registers are updated using the type 2 update method.

Data registers lifecycle

Infograph of the data register lifecycle; New request, review, acept/reject, development, deployment, refine/improve, update, monitor, depreciation, retire.

Further information


Last edited: 11 October 2022 1:48 pm