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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. NHAIS uses legacy technology and does not match the future business needs of the NHS.  

Withdrawal of support for Internet Explorer 11

From 15 June 2022, Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) will no longer be supported by Microsoft or NHS Digital. If you're still using this browser to access Open Exeter, you should switch to a modern alternative such as Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome. 

All aspects of Open Exeter are compatible with modern browsers, with the exception of the use of smart cards for login. Due to the planned decommissioning of Open Exeter, the ability to login using a smartcard is being removed. If you currently use a smart card to login, please contact the Helpdesk for advice on alternatives by email: [email protected] or telephone: 0300 303 4034. 

Using unsupported systems makes your organisation more vulnerable to cyber security threats and makes it more likely that you’ll experience performance or reliability issues, so it’s really important you upgrade as soon as possible.  

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

The NHS currently uses two solutions to maintain and access patient demographic data: The National Health Application and Infrastructure Services (NHAIS) systems and the Personal Demographics Service (PDS). NHS Digital (NHSD) and Primary Care Support England (PCSE) are developing new systems to decommission NHAIS and Open Exeter, including the new Cervical Screening Management System (CSMS) and a replacement service capturing HPV vaccination data.

This work will enable NHAIS and much of Open Exeter to be closed, and PDS to be the single national source of patient demographic information for health and care services in England, Wales and Isle of Man.

Over the coming months NHS Digital will be working closely with local organisations to help them prepare for the switchover. Transitioning to PDS will ensure there is a single, more accurate, national repository for demographic and primary care registration data for health and social care and help reduce operational complexity.

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 should consider what alternative services may already exist to meet their needs for example Summary Care Record application (SCRa) for patient tracing. This page signposts users to alternative services which are available now or are planned. We will continue to 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 current version of the GMS1 form that no longer includes the options for a patient to state their blood and organ preferences is available for GP’s to order and the GMS1 form is also available online. Please use the  GMS1 when possible.

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

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
  • to register for organ donation visit
  • 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

Bowel cancer screening

Currently no change planned.

Breast cancer screening

Currently no change planned.

Cervical screening

As part of the transition planning for the introduction of the new NHS Cervical Screening Management System, access to cervical screening functionality on Open Exeter will be maintained for all users. Learn more about the new NHS Cervical Screening Management System

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).

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), or if you are in a GP practice, your own GP practice system. 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.  Staff supporting cervical screening will retain their access to appropriate demographics data until the introduction of a new cervical screening service. 

If you think these changes affect you, please check your email (including junk email) or contact the Open Exeter Helpdesk at [email protected].

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.

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.

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 [email protected].

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: [email protected] 

Telephone: 0300 303 4034

Last edited: 24 May 2022 5:06 pm