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

Message Exchange for Social Care and Health

Message Exchange for Social Care and Health (MESH) provides the ability to share data directly between health and care organisations and is the nationally recognised mechanism for this method of data sharing.

About this service

You can use MESH to:
  • transfer data files securely from one organisation to another

  • transfer large files (up to 20 GB) which cannot be sent over NHSmail (up to 35 MB only)

  • send a file to someone's GP, using their NHS number and other details

Who the service is for

It enables any health and social care organisation, such as providers, to transfer data files.

What we deliver

We provide two modes of data transfer to suit different organisational needs and requirements:

System to system – MESH can be directly integrated into your systems and business processes using either a client or an Application Programming Interface (API).

User Interface – a web-based service for ad hoc transfers of smaller files.


MESH provides the ability to share data directly between health and care organisations and is the nationally recognised mechanism for this method of data sharing.

How it is used

You can use MESH to send files of any type, for many reasons.

For example you can:

  • notify social services if a patient needs social care after they leave hospital
  • send datasets to NHS England
  • receive a list of NHS numbers from the national data opt-out programme


A summary of the key planned deliverables.

Q4 2022/23 (End of March 2023) to Q1 2023/24 (End of June 2023):

  • Closure of MESH to Cloud migration activities
  • Improved MESH web content and information architecture
  • Simpler mailbox request process 
  • A strategic review of the MESH API
  • Improvements to the MESH Client setup process
  • Improvements to the MESH digital onboarding journey
  • MESH API development
  • Mesh UI integration with CIS2

Service information

SRO: Stephen Koch

Service owner: Shan Rahulan

Category: Interoperability

Service Status: In production

Service Level: Platinum

Key Metrics/KPIs

Target message response time of 0.2s or less

Target message response time of 1s or less at the 99th percentile

Total Messages sent per month


You can access MESH in 3 ways. Choose the option based on you or your organisation’s needs. 

All options are free to use, but you need to show you have a valid use case to use MESH.

You can also use a combination of these options. To do this, you’ll need to set up each one separately.

1. User Interface (UI)

The MESH UI is a website that enables the manual sending or receiving of small files, in low volumes. It’s ideal for sending things like a monthly report of patients who have received a vaccination.

You do not need to install any software. This means it’s ideal for non-technical people in organisations that are not able to automate or integrate systems. 

Expect it take 2 to 3 weeks to apply and get set up.

Once it’s set up, you can send files up to 50 MB, or 100 MB if you access the website through the Health and Social Care Network.

2. API

You can use the MESH API to transfer large volumes of messages and files from system to system, for example:

  • hospital electronic patient record systems
  • GP clinical systems
  • vaccination management software 
  • pharmacy systems

You‘ll need technical knowledge of system integration and APIs.

You can only use MESH API if you have a legal reason to do so. You’ll need to apply and demonstrate this. We usually approve your request within 5 to 10 working days.

Once approved, you can begin the API integration process. 

You’ll also need to complete a number of onboarding processes for your software to go live. This means that it can take a lot longer to start using MESH API compared to MESH UI and MESH Client.  

The overall length of time it takes to go live with the MESH API depends on the resources your organisation puts into completing integration and onboarding processes. 

Expect it to take a minimum of 1 month.

Once integrated and onboarded, you can send files up to 20 GB.

3. Client

This is Java software that IT teams can download and install on a server or an individual computer. 

Once installed, the software must be configured before it can be used. 

To set up the MESH Client, you’ll need: 

  • enough memory and disk space
  • a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) 8 or later to be installed on the server
  • administrator rights to install software
  • the necessary firewall configurations 
  • technical knowledge of keystores and certificates

Expect it to take 1 to 3 weeks to install and configure the MESH Client.

Once you’ve set up MESH Client, you can send files up to 20 GB.

Learn more about the technical requirements to get started with MESH Client.

Get help and support

If you need help choosing the right MESH option for your organisation or need technical support with MESH contact us.

Log a support ticket
Sign in or register for an account to create a MESH service request ticket

0300 303 5035
24-hour service

[email protected]
We aim to respond within 5 working days

Last edited: 31 March 2023 4:05 pm