The NHS currently uses two solutions to maintain and access patient demographic data (name, address, date of birth, NHS number, GP practice): the NHAIS systems and the Personal Demographics Service (PDS).
NHS Digital and Primary Care Support England (PCSE) are developing new systems to allow NHAIS to be decommissioned and PDS to be the single national source of patient demographic information.
When NHAIS is decommissioned and Open Exeter closed, it will no longer be possible to search for demographics data this way. Instead, this information will only be available through PDS, which is part of the infrastructure that facilitates the interconnection of systems and flow of information around the NHS - collectively known as the ‘Spine’. PDS serves as a database of patients registered for, or otherwise in receipt of, health and care services commissioned by NHS organisations.
Moving to PDS is strategically important as it mitigates the risk of having two sources of this information. NHAIS and PDS each perform a different role and manage information on patients and their practices in different ways. Patients are added and removed from NHAIS only through the GP practice registration process, while patient information from both NHAIS and GP clinical systems is used to update PDS, as well as systems in a broad range of healthcare settings such as pharmacies and hospitals.
For people new to using PDS, we recommend that you initially look at accessing demographics information via Summary Care Record application (SCRa). Users in Wales should use the Welsh Demographics Service (WDS) instead of SCRa.
We are removing access to demographics data via Open Exeter in phases. We are continuing to contact users who are currently only using Open Exeter to search for demographics information, advising them that we will be removing their access. Staff supporting cervical screening will retain their access to demographics data until the introduction of a new cervical screening service. We will also be undertaking a survey with users supporting HPV, to identify the impact of pausing this service.
If you think these changes affect you, please check your email (including junk email) or contact the Open Exeter Helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are using demographics data to directly support cervical screening, see the Cervical screening section above.
If you are using demographics data to directly support HPV vaccinations, see the HPV vaccinations section below.
If you are using demographics data to record blood and organ donor preferences, see the Blood and organ donation preferences above.