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Open Exeter

Open Exeter gives access to patient data held on the National Health Application and Infrastructure Services (NHAIS) platform.

The NHAIS platform (sometimes known as the Exeter system), in England, Wales and Isle of Man is being replaced by a range of new digital services during 2021 and early 2022. NHAIS uses legacy technology and does not match the future business needs of the NHS.  

Open Exeter sits on the NHAIS platform and provides web-based access to data held on NHAIS.

As new services are introduced to replace NHAIS, many aspects of Open Exeter will be closed, with the exception of access to Breast Screening Select and the Bowel Cancer Screening System.

Open Exeter users need to consider what alternative services exist to meet their needs. This page signposts users to alternative services which are available now or are planned. We will add more details around scheduling and plans in future updates.


Blood and organ donation preferences

From the 1 October 2021, the data input screens that enabled users to process blood and organ preferences through Open Exeter were removed.

This service will not be replaced, so you should follow these guidelines.

The new version of the GMS1 form that no longer includes the options for a patient to state their blood and organ preferences is now available for GP’s to order and the new GMS1 form will also be made available online soon. Please start to use the new GMS1 when possible.

Ideally, any unused stock you may hold of previous versions of the GMS1 form should now be destroyed.

However, if you continue to use previous versions of the GMS1 form for patients to complete, you must strike through the blood and organ preference sections before the form is used.

Up to 30 September 2021, if you receive a completed GMS1 form where a patient has stated their blood and/or organ preferences it is important that you continue to input your patient's preferences into Open Exeter in the usual way.

After 30 September 2021, if you receive a completed GMS 1 form where a patient has stated their blood and/or organ preferences, it is important that you

  • inform your patient that their donation preference can no longer be processed through their GP practice, but should they wish to, they can record their preferences directly through the blood and organ donation online registration websites or directly by phone
  • to register for blood donation visit https://www.blood.co.uk
  • to register for organ donation visit https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk
  • to register for Blood or Organ donation by phone call: 0300 123 23 23
  • strike-through your patients’ stated blood and/or organ preferences on the GMS1 form, so it is made clear that you have not processed their preferences

Further updates will be provided in due course.


Bowel cancer screening

Currently no change planned.


Breast cancer screening

Currently no change planned.


Cervical screening

For information about the new NHS Cervical Screening Management System, which will replace the National Cervical Screening call/recall system please visit the new system page.


Demographics data

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 exeter.helpdesk@nhs.net.

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.


Doctors Details

As part of the Open Exeter decommissioning process, we are withdrawing access to the Doctors Details application on the 31 October 2021.

The Doctors Details system reads data from the NHAIS GP Payments system which has already been decommissioned.  As a result, the application no longer displays up to date or accurate information.

The NHAIS GP Payments system has been replaced by the PCSE GP Payments system which now holds many of the data items. PCSE also maintain a Performers List. For additional queries, please contact PCSE on Tel: 0333 014 2884.

Additionally, many of the fields, such as practice code, GMC number, address and postcode are available via the Organisation Data Service (ODS) online search facility. For assistance in using ODS, please email exeter.helpdesk@nhs.net with ‘ODS query’ in the subject field.

If you have any general queries or concerns regarding these changes, please email exeter.helpdesk@nhs.net with subject reference ‘Open Exeter – Decommissioning of Doctors Details’.  If you can, please include the Open Exeter User IDs of those in your organisation who are impacted.


GP payments in England

From 1 June 2021, Open Exeter is no longer used to hold financial information about GP practices.

Instead, this information, along with practice payments, is available on the new GP Payments and Pensions system

You can access the new GP Payments system by logging into PCSE Online. Practices can submit and view claims for premises and locum cover online with the added benefit of knowing there are checks in place for any missing information and the ability to easily track where all claims are in the process. 


HPV vaccinations data

The Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations application on Open Exeter will be ceasing within the next six months, as part of the decommissioning plans for Open Exeter and NHAIS. Plans for a replacement service are under discussion. We will be contacting users during the autumn to take part in a survey to help develop a strategy to support the decommissioning plans for Open Exeter and NHAIS.

When the service closes all historic HPV data held on Open Exeter/NHAIS will be transferred to the NHS Digital Data Processing Service (DPS) and in the short-term data will be made available for a limited number of scenarios such as clinical incident management.

The current plan is for the replacement service to collect all HPV vaccination events automatically from your Child Health Information Services (CHIS) system so it remains important that all vaccination records continue to be recorded within that system.

More detailed communications will be updated shortly on this webpage. If you have any concerns or questions please contact exeter.helpdesk@nhs.net.


Opthalmic payments

The Open Exeter Ophthalmic Payments system is now closed. This service is now being provided by PCSE and details can be found on their Ophthalmic Payments page.  


Data User Certification Request Form for Access to Open Exeter (GP Practice)


Data User Certification Request Form for Access to Open Exeter (non-GP Practice organisations)


Revocation Form for Open Exeter Web Browser Users


National Health Application and Infrastructure Services (NHAIS)


Contact details

Email: exeter.helpdesk@nhs.net 

Telephone: 0300 303 4034

Last edited: 18 October 2021 4:00 pm