The contract to provide the NHS strategic tracing service (NSTS) runs to the end of June 2007, with an option to extend further for periods of six months up to the end of December 2008. Migration from NSTS to the personal demographics service (PDS) is scheduled to have been completed within this timescale.
The PDS is part of the national programme for information technology spine, and went live, on time, in June 2004. In addition to stand-alone patient tracing services the PDS provides an essential element of the integrated national health service care record service which underpins the creation of an electronic care record for every NHS patient in England. The PDS enables a patient to be readily identified by NHS staff and associated, seamlessly and accurately, with their care record. The PDS also supports other key initiatives such as choose and book and the electronic prescription service.
The PDS currently contains demographic information on most NHS patients and is currently processing over 136 million searches a year from over 14,500 locations.
Use of the PDS will continue to develop over the life of the NHS information technology programme to deliver the full set of planned patient benefits and clinical improvements to the NHS.