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Spine Mini Service Provider for Personal Demographics Service

The NHS Digital Spine Mini Service Provider (SMSP) lets health and social care providers access important information held on Spine. It aims to reduce the complexities around integration with the Spine. 

The NHS Digital PDS SMSP API is now deprecated effective 14 October 2021 with the intention to retire it.

If you intend to develop a new integration, use the Personal Demographics Service FHIR API instead.

For migration advice, see Migrating from the PDS SMSP API to the PDS FHIR API.

Note: This only affects you if you use our NHS Digital PDS SMSP API, not if you use a third party PDS SMSP provider.

These pages are currently undergoing review. Please contact [email protected] for all sample documents and linked files.

SMSP is a middleware application that presents a simpler interface to local systems than that provided by full Spine integration, but with more limited capabilities. It requires a secure network connection (through N3 or its successor – HSCN), but smartcards are not required, because only exact matches to trace requests are returned, and updates to the Spine service are not possible. It provides a web service interface, as part of the Spine platform, for a local SMS Client to directly query a subset of Spine services, meaning:

  • health and social care organisations can access some types of patient information (initially PDS) more easily
  • third-party developers can integrate their systems with Spine more easily whilst continuing to develop local Client applications to meet the needs of End Users

It also provides a lighter weight assurance process using the NHS Digital self-certified approach (known as the PDS Access Request Form and the Supplier Conformance Assessment List) to address clinical safety, operational readiness and information governance issues.

Spine Mini Services Provider for Personal Demographics Service

The first NHS Digital SMSP application has been developed for the Personal Demographics Service (PDS), one of the core Spine services. The PDS is the national database of patient demographic information, comprising patients’ NHS Number, basic demographic details (name, DOB, gender, address), contact details, registered GP practice, pharmacy preferences for use in EPS, and various indicators for records management purposes.

The SMSP for PDS makes national demographic information available to suitable organisations with whom NHS Digital has a legal basis for sharing PDS Data. It allows these organisations to fulfil their duties under the NHS standard contracts to use the NHS number as a ‘consistent identifier’, resulting in every patient being identified properly across care settings.  It will also improve ease of access to national information by social care organisations.  The service provides access to demographic data so that end users can:

  • Determine the NHS number using other demographic details.
  • Search for patient demographic information based on a combination of NHS number, name, date of birth, postcode and gender.

In the future we may develop the SMSP to let users connect with other Spine services, such as Summary Care Records or the Electronic Prescription Service.

Resources and information overview

The information and resources are available in the following sections:  

Further information

internal Stage 1: Getting started quick start

Enables a developer to become familiar with a typical journey that they will take to develop and deploy their solution in a live care setting.

internal Stage 3: Development

Information and resources for developers who are starting to build the SMS client.

internal Stage 5: agreements

Summaries of the documents that detail the responsibilities, obligations and rights of the participant organisations

Last edited: 29 October 2021 4:59 pm