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Explore and Make use of Nationally Defined Messaging APIs



A brief introduction to getting started with the e-Referral APIs

Application Programming Interface (API)

A key aspect of the NHS e-RS vision is to enable local innovation and adoption of paperless referrals. To support this vision NHS Digital have created a set of APIs which provide a well-defined, simple to use data interface to the NHS e-Referral Service (e-RS).

We want to stimulate and assist your development of applications linked to the NHS e-RS using these APIs, so within these pages you will find information about the functionality of these APIs as well as guidance on how we can support you throughout development and implementation.

Functionality and Future Roadmap

Currently the e-RS Integration APIs provide the following functionality:

Future Roadmap

The NHS e-Referral Service Future integration roadmap is published here.

The e-Referrals API Hub

The site has five main parts. Each aligns to a phase of development and partner engagement with NHS Digital, as shown below.

NHS e-RS API Hub Resources

A summary of the activities and the support material in each of the phases are as follows:

Phase                 Description
1. Get Started How to get started with development, including registration for new partners and connection to development environments
2. Explore Overview of the functionality available through the APIs with business flow examples and links to technical documentation
3. Develop Complete list of available APIs and their status with technical documentation and information about support during the development phase
4. Assure Information on the compliance process, technical accreditation and advice on clinical safety reviews
5. Deploy Guidance on the process for going live and live service support

NHS e-RS API Development Journey

The diagram below provides a more detailed view of a typical Development Journey as a sequence of phases together with the key activities, support materials and/or services provided by the API Hub.

NHS e-RS API Development Journey

Further Resources

A key consideration for any remote access service is the requirement that patient data is safe and protected. There are many rules that govern controls and protection when accessing systems and application remotely. To learn more about the Government Digital Service standards visit the NHS Digital Industry Standards pages.

The e-RS integration APIs have been developed to be compliant with HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards. More information about FHIR APIs is available at

All content is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0, except where otherwise stated