The Organisation Data Service (ODS) is provided by NHS Digital. It's responsible for the publication of all organisation and practitioner codes, and national policy and standards regarding the majority of organisation codes, and encompasses the functionality and services previously provided by the National Administrative Codes Service (NACS).
These code standards form part of the NHS data standards. NHS Digital is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the ODS and its overall development.
Why ODS codes are needed
It's vital to the provision of effective healthcare that the various locations involved in a patient's treatment can communicate quickly and efficiently.
ODS codes facilitate this process by providing unique identification codes for organisational entities of interest to the NHS, including:
- NHS trusts
- clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)
- GP practices
The codes are distributed to the wider NHS and uploaded to IT systems, providing a set of organisational data and organisation types, names and addresses that are consistent across the board.
This allows those IT systems to identify precise locations reliably, quickly and easily. This requirement for systems to ensure that only valid data is exported is a normal function of any IT system and is essential for the correct exchange of information.
You can search for existing ODS codes using the ODS Portal (a Transition Network or HSCN connection is required) or register for an ODS code if you don't already have one.
Using ODS codes
You will need to use your ODS code to connect to HSCN apply for and use national applications such as, the NHS e-Referral Service and NHSMail. You will also need it for submitting national reports on care and activity provided, such as referral to treatment (RTT) data.
Your commissioning organisations are also likely to request using the code in all correspondence with them, as it's your organisation's unique identifier in the NHS.
Types of ODS code
The type of code needed depends on the organisation and the services they will provide and use.
Independent providers will be allocated either an:
- Independent Provider Code (IP code)
- Independent Sector Healthcare Provider code (ISHP code)
Providers needing to use national infrastructure services, such as the NHS e-Referral Service, would need an ISHP code. Providers not using national infrastructure would be allocated an IP code.
The Exeter Helpdesk
The Exeter Helpdesk is the service desk that record and log customer enquiries for the ODS team. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.