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National Events Management Service (NEMS)

The National Events Management Service (NEMS) enables the sharing of specific health information about a patient in near real-time. Information is shared in the form of event messages, following a publish and subscribe model and using the NHS Spine.

NEMS works with other interoperability services including the National Record Locator which allows authorised users to find specific patient records that are held on different health care systems.

What is an event?

A patient event is a thing that happens or takes place, especially one of importance. Examples of events in the real world include:

  • admittance to hospital
  • being born
  • discharge from hospital
  • change of GP
  • emergency care attendance
  • change of address

An event is triggered by an activity that has occurred in a healthcare service.

How NEMS works

NEMS has been designed to allow the sharing of healthcare information without having to know the recipient(s) as long as there is a lawful basis for them to receive it. Healthcare providers send the information as event messages to NEMS - they are known as event publishers. The messages relate to specific events. They are commissioned to fulfil a particular use case.

Those receiving the information are known as subscribers. This is because they inform NEMS what information they would like to receive.

Receivers specify the data set they require and information is sent by NEMS in the form of an event message. Subscriptions are set up to ensure that receivers only get the specific data they require and have been assured to receive.

There are two types of subscription:

  1. Explicit subscriptions relate to where a subscriber wishes to receive event messages for a specific patient. For example, a pharmacist wanting to receive hospital admission and discharge events for a specific patient.
  2. Generic subscriptions specify a cohort of patient within a geographical boundary or registered organisations (GP practices). For example, a community care service wishing to view events for all children within a specific local authority area.

The healthcare professionals that receive the information are known as subscribers and tell the NEMS what information they would like to receive by asking for different types of event messages. Each type of event message contains different information. A healthcare professional asking for an event message creates a NEMS subscription.

Subscribers will generally be healthcare professionals but could include patients.

When the NEMS is sent an event message from a publisher, it sends the event message to all those subscribing to the event.

An authorised healthcare professional can subscribe to events about patients by:

  • asking for events about all patients that live in a specific area - for example, based on the patient's postcode or the postcode of the patient's registered GP
  • asking for events about a specific patient, using their NHS number to identify them

The criteria a health and care professional uses to ask for event messages will be chosen based on what patients they are responsible for in an area and which patients they have a legitimate relationship with.

Message Exchange for Social Care and Health (MESH) is the current mechanism we use to deliver event messages to the consumers.

To set up a mailbox for your test environment (INT or DEP), the requesting party should email the Platforms Support Desk at platforms.supportdesk@nhs.net, stating which workflow ID they want on their mailbox and give:

  • your organisation name and address
  • your organisation data service (ODS) code
  • the contact details of a nominated representative within your organisation
  • the contact details for any third-parties managing the mailbox on your behalf
  • the type of data you'll be sending and receiving via MESH
  • the approximate file size of the data you'll be sending
  • which Workflow IDs you need adding to the MESH mailbox

Suppliers will then be given a reference number from the Platforms Support Desk, which should be quoted when contacting the team for any updates or follow on discussions.

Request a live MESH mailbox using our online form.


An example of NEMS in practice

When the Personal Demographics Service (PDS) is updated with a baby's birth, a birth notification event containing information about the birth is sent to the NEMS. The healthcare professional recording the birth in PDS does not know which healthcare professionals are interested in the information, but the design of the NEMS means that doesn't need to be known as NEMS will share with the subscribers.

When the NEMS receives the birth notification event it looks to see which healthcare professionals have asked to receive birth notification events and sends the event to them.

The process is similar for all event messages sent to the NEMS. The only difference will be who publishes the event message to the NEMS and who has subscribed to receive the event.


Current NEMS activity

NEMS went live as a private beta in April 2019. The live events are:

  • birth
  • change of address
  • change of GP
  • death
  • new born hearing
  • new born bloodspot
  • new born infant physical examination
  • immunisations
  • professional contact

Contact details

For further information please contact the team.

Further information

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Our purpose is to support the delivery of the recommendations set out in the NHS England strategy Healthy Children: Transforming Child Health Information. Find out more about what we're doing.

Last edited: 22 September 2021 4:00 pm