Personal Demographic Service (PDS) - England

The Personal Demographics Service (PDS) is the national electronic database of NHS patient demographic details and the central source of patient demographic information used within NHS Organisations. The PDS enables a patient to be readily identified by healthcare professionals and associated, quickly and accurately, with their correct medical details. The PDS does not hold any clinical or sensitive data items such as ethnicity or religion. The PDS underpins the development of linked detailed electronic care records and a Summary Care Record for every registered NHS patient in England. More details can be found at the NHS Digital website.

The PDS also replaces many locally held NHS databases, providing a single accessible, efficient, reliable and integrated electronic demographics service. Changes made in one location are available for access across NHS Care Records Service systems without delay. Instead of different organisations creating and maintaining multiple records for patients with duplicated demographic items, for example multiple addresses, there will be a single up-to-date and definitive demographic record for each patient for authorised NHS professionals to access and use. The PDS offers several key advantages to users, including faster access, better communication between NHS organisations and less risk of duplication or misidentification of patients.

Key benefits of the PDS are:

  • Improved patient safety through a reduction in the number of errors when matching patients and episodes of patient care.
  • A more convenient way to add or update demographic information such as contact details. Eventually patients themselves will be able to check their details and update some of them using HealthSpace2, a secure NHS web service for people who live in England.
  • Quicker, more convenient access to accurate and complete patient demographic information (such as contact details, registered practice) and correct matching to each patient’s NHS Care Record.
  • A reduction in the amount of correspondence going to the wrong address.
  • More difficult for patients to use ‘ghost addresses’.
    Note - Information in this section was obtained from the NHS Digital website.
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