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Message Exchange for Social Care and Health (MESH)

The Message Exchange for Social Care and Health (MESH) is the main secure large file transfer service used across health and social care organisations.

Why use MESH

There are several reasons why your organisation may choose to use MESH. It:

  • allows you to transfer large data files securely from one organisation to another
  • allows large files (up to 20GB) to be sent, which cannot be sent over NHSmail (up to 35MB)
  • has a user friendly interface, available through MESH UI
  • allows some configuration to suit business needs when using MESH client/API

Organisations should have separate mailboxes for each use case to maintain the security of the data being sent and received.

MESH connects to the Spine infrastructure via the N3/HSCN network. If you cannot register for an N3/HSCN connection (local authorities for example) there is an option to connect via the public internet.

MESH can send files of any type, for many different purposes. Some examples of what MESH may be used for include:

  1. A pathology lab using MESH to communicate test results to GP practices.
  2. A hospital sending and receiving notifications to adult social services to identify patients who may need adult social care when they leave hospital, in line with the Care Act 2014.

In most cases, the systems suppliers or IT administrators will handle the set-up of MESH for each organisation. If you are a user of MESH and have technical questions, we recommend you get in touch with your organisation’s IT contact first. 

Types of MESH available

We currently have three types of MESH to suit a variety of organisational needs and requirements.

  1. MESH Client - ideal for organisations sending or receiving large files (up to 20GB), such as GP sites, Trusts, private NHS providers).
  2. MESH User Interface (UI) - ideal for organisations sending or receiving small files (under 100MB over N3/HSCN and under 50MB over Internet Gateway).
  3. MESH Application Programming Interface (API) - MESH API is a restful API ideal for organisations who have the technical skills to integrate MESH into their systems.

Visit our Compare MESH services page for a more detailed summary of each method.

Track Messages

Users can apply for an account to track and trace messages sent using MESH by using the MESH Online Enquiry Service (MOLES), a message tracking service hosted on Spine which is accessed through via a user interface (UI). Also note that message tracking is available as part of the restful API.

Test your implementation - test client and message tracking API

Systems suppliers and IT users can access a test client, the integration environment, which can also include access to a test version of the Message Tracking API.


Please contact the National Service Desk at or call on 0300 30 35 035 for any technical or service issues and general enquiries including requests to be added to the distribution list for regular updates to service suppliers and users.

For testing related enquiries about MESH please contact Solutions Assurance at

Further information

internal MESH guidance hub

View our selection of MESH and MOLES technical documentation. These guides will help you install and use your MESH client, manage your advanced settings and identify recipient mailboxes using the endpoint lookup service.

internal Compare MESH services

We currently have three types of MESH to suit a variety of organisational needs and requirements. Here is a summary of the three types, with links to installation and user guides.

Last edited: 5 July 2021 4:37 pm