Skip to main content
Table of contents

National Record Locator - FHIR API


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 at the NHS England page on Interoperability.

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.


National Record Locator - FHIR API documentation