It's a central repository of NHS number, names, date of birth/death, addresses, pharmacy preferences, registered GP and related people. It's the canonical source of truth for your national health identity data.
Everyone musty have a record on the PDS if they use the NHS, they are looked after by the National Back Office for the PDS. Access permissions are tightly controlled.
Records can be marked as restricted access. It can impact referrals, summary care record access and prescribing if the PDS record cannot be accessed.
- New births are registered on the PDS by compliant systems such as maternity systems.
- A Birth Notification Application can be used to register births onto the PDS if required.
- Updates to PDS are made at a patients GP Practice which has a automatically feed into PDS via batch mechanism that pushes all the recent changes
- A Civil Registration data feed is taken from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the statutory official record of time, location and cause of death.
- Deaths must be registered within 5 days, it can take up to 20 days for the data to appear on the PDS due to reporting cycles and data quality processes
- An informal death flag can be set by GP systems to suppress patient communications and cancel appointments
🔍 Searching - Often described as tracing.
- Advanced tracing allows fuzzy logic type searching
- Simple tracing is a search that can only return 1 or 0 results requiring an exact match
There are a number of access methods to the data held within the PDS, here are some of them:
- PDS HL7 V3 API - Takes a long time to integrate, needs a secure network (HSCN) and smart cards.
- PDS SMSP API - Simple trace only. Now deprecated.
- PDS FHIR API - Available on the internet
Much more detail can be found at NHS Digital Demographics Service