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Patient administration system migrations - NHS e-Referral Service

Guidance for service provider organisations on how to amend or replace a patient administration system (PAS).


The NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS) has functionality which allows service provider organisations to directly configure their services to account for changes to their patient administration systems (PAS) for multiple services, rather than updating each service one-by-one.

This functionality, called a bulk service update, allows users with the service definer role to update multiple directly bookable services (DBS) with amended or replacement PAS reference information.

This guidance is intended for PAS IT suppliers and service provider organisations with directly bookable services to understand how to use the e-RS bulk service update functionality to support a planned upgrade or replacement PAS project. This guidance also includes business and operational considerations which should be taken into account in order to minimise the impact that any PAS changes could incur.

Operational considerations for PAS migrations

Operational business tasks include:

  • ensuring the relevant stakeholders are involved in your project, including the organisation e-RS lead
  • establishing an overall migration project plan which includes the e-RS steps necessary to ensure success and minimise any impact to service availability
  • planning for a bulk service update by checking the NHS Digital live service information pages for any planned outages and ensure that you are signed up to receive e-RS service outage notifications by contacting
  • creating a test1 directly bookable service on your directory of service (DOS) and link it to the alternate/new PAS using the bulk update tool for this test service to familiarise yourself with the process oulined below
  • making a booking using a test patient1 into the the test service to verify that slot polling, appointment bookings and cancellations are working (this is a vital step and will greatly reduce the risk of connectivity issues prior to the go-live of your replacement PAS)
  • ensuring that the patient facing contact details have been completed for all services, including any hours of operation as these are not mandatory fields in DOS (gaps in this information will result in the bulk update tool failing to complete the task)
  • identifying e-RS services (these could be across various sites) that will be used to verify that the new PAS is linked correctly (you can find a full list of your organisation's published directly bookable services in the e-RS extract EBSX05)

Please be aware that when you carry out a PAS migration, no new slots will poll until the following night, meaning any business-critical services will be without slots for that day/period. A manual slot poll will therefore be required for any business-critical services, to ensure appointments will be available.

1 If you feel that you need access to a test environment or test patients please contact

Performing a Bulk Service Update must only be undertaken outside of normal working hours as all changes to services will be immediately effective. Completing this task during normal working hours will result in all booking attempts failing, leading to an increase in appointment slot issues (ASIs).

Other considerations

You should:

  • inform and update commissioners and local referrers with PAS transition plans including any outage periods and local business continuity plans
  • manually update all services by selecting the new PAS details (endpoint) for each e-RS service, if for any reason the bulk update tool fails

Performing a bulk service update

This section describes how to update the service provider organisations and/or provider system details (also known as an ASID) for multiple DBS services in one action, in bulk, saving the time of revising each individual service, one by one. The bulk update function can only be applied to directly bookable services.

Steps to bulk update provider systems:

e-RS bulk service update function

  1. Log in to e-RS as a service definer and select the Bulk Service Updates tab (see screen shot of e-RS bulk upload screen above).
  2. Set the directly bookable search filter to 'Yes'.
  3. Select the services to update by placing a tick in each box against organisations, sites or individual services. Caution is required when making this selection to ensure that only required services have the alternate PAS information applied.
  4. Place a tick in the 'Enable' tick box to make the rest of the information editable.
  5. Display the options in the 'Provider System' drop down list and choose the required system identifier.
  6. If the organisation and relevant provider system is different from the current one, click the 'Modify Organisation' button.
  7. Click 'Update' to save your changes.
  8. Click 'Clear' to exit the page without making the changes.


Testing the PAS after the migration

Following a PAS migration, the organisation will need to test the new PAS with several services to ensure everything is working as expected.

Some test scenarios to consider:

  1. Making an initial appointment booking in e-RS and verifying that the appointment has been booked in the PAS
  2. Cancel a booking in e-RS and verify that it has also be cancelled in the PAS
  3. Perform a 'Remove Slot' in the PAS so that it is no longer available for referrers to book into and then verify that a referrer cannot book into this slot using e-RS


If you have any queries that cannot be resolved using the information provided, please contact the team by emailing

Last edited: 12 November 2020 9:48 am