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Explore and Make use of Nationally Defined Messaging APIs


Introduction to NRL FHIR® API

A brief introduction to getting started with the NRL FHIR® API.


Welcome to the National Record Locator Technical Specification landing page. This site will continue to be updated as we receive feedback, which we welcome from all within the clinical and non-clinical community. To discuss any questions or queries you may have with the NRL team, feel free to email us on Thank you for your time!


There is currently no national solution for locating and sharing patient records across health and care systems. The National Record Locator (NRL) will enable an authorised clinician, care worker and/or administrator, in any health or care setting, to access a patient’s information to support that patient’s direct care. In turn, NRL will empower professionals, patients and communities, strengthen primary, secondary and acute care and introduce system efficiencies. This new national capability will aim to complement local digital initiatives (including Shared Care Records) and enhance the level of digital maturity across Health and Care. Phase 1 aims to demonstrate this capability, testing the concept of cross border interoperability and crucially enabling the power of local Shared Care Records (where they exist) to become woven into the NRL fabric from the outset. NHS Digital intends for the NRL to be accessible to all localities in 2019, opening up the possibility of achieving the ‘holy grail of interoperability’ in the months and years that follow. The NHS England Target Architecture also states that platforms moving forward will be expected to use common national services, standards and governance processes to ensure national cohesion, including the NRL. More information can be found here:.

In 2016, NHS Digital concluded a proof of concept project to test the implementation challenges of the NRL and to measure its potential service impact and benefits. A decision was made to continue with the development of the NRL in four key regions across the NHS identified for their digital maturity as outlined below. Working initially with urgent and emergency care, the NRL will enable cross border, cross organisation and cross sector interoperability. Our plan therefore is to integrate with:

  • North West, North East, Yorkshire and London Ambulance Services and Mental Health Trusts
  • The Lancashire Patient Record Exchange Service
  • Cheshire Care Record

Proving the success of such integrations in Phase 1 will allow all records held within local shared records to be accessible via NRL in Phase 2 and beyond.


Phase One – Alpha / Beta

Phase one aims to provide:

  • Access to 4 Ambulance Trusts
  • Access to 5 Mental Health Trusts
  • Connection to Shared Care Record initiatives in Lancashire and Cheshire
  • An agreed tactical IG model
  • Support for STPs and GDEs

Phase Two – NHS Implementation

In Phase two:

  • The NRL will be accessible to ALL authorised users
  • Fast followers will begin accessing the NRL
  • Additional Shared Care Record initiatives to provide / consume the NRL
  • NRL intends to link up a minimum of two Local Health Care Record Exemplars (LHCRE) through NRL
Tags: overview

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