NHS Service Finder
Published on: 2nd October 2020 | Updated on: 26th October 2023
NHS Service Finder is a free online search tool which provides access to information from the Directory of Services (DoS) and nhs.uk.
It is not open to the public but it does allow pharmacy team members and other healthcare professionals to search for service information quickly, allowing a patient to be signposted to the most appropriate service for their needs. The system includes maps and directions to the services, plus the ability to email service information directly to your patient.
This tool also enables pharmacy teams to look-up non-public telephone numbers (where available) for listed services, such as general practices.
Top tip about signing up: Visit the NHS Service Finder webpage now, to sign up for access and ‘create an account’, ideally using an NHSmail email address.
There are three different ways of searching for services.
1. Find different types of service
- Finding a range of services in a particular location.
- Comparing different services.
- Type ‘all’ in the search box to see a list of all the services you can use in a search.
- Some services have similar capabilities (e.g. Minor Injuries Unit, UrgentTreatment Centre, Walk-In Centre).
- Choose all relevant services to broaden your search.
- Adding GP details may increase the number of services available to your patient.
2. Check details of a specific service
- Checking contact details or referral instructions of a specific service.
- Finding a particular service of which you might not know the exact name.
- Type as much of the name or address as you can accurately remember.
- Try adding or removing words to widen or narrow the search.
3. Find services using clinical keywords
- Finding services to treat a specific medical condition.
- You can search for clinical keywords like ‘fracture’, ‘blocked catheter’, ‘chest pain’.
- Services that are able to accept patients with that condition will be shown.
See also the FAQs below and NHS Service Finder’s guidance:
The interactive maps feature has now been launched to provide you with a complete view of all relevant services in the area. It also offers direction to different services, including public transport options, which can be shared directly with patients via SMS text messages or email. This makes it quicker and easier to direct patients to the relevant health care professionals.
When you make searches you can toggle the search results between list and map view. You can also adjust the filters of your search result within the list view and then return to map view to see an updated map based on your refined search.
Info for Local Pharmaceutical Committees (LPCs):
LPC registration process
- Go to finder.directoryofservices.nhs.uk and work through the registration options/pages. Use your LPC email address when an email username is requested. NHSmail is not a requirement.
- Mention within the application that “I work within the Local Pharmaceutical Committee (LPC), <name> “
- Contact Community Pharmacy England’s IT team (firstname.lastname@example.org) if there is a problem with your registration request being approved within 5 working days, so they can flag this to the NHS Service Finder team.
NHS Service Finder team have confirmed to Community Pharmacy England that LPC staff should be able to sign-up to use NHS Service Finder.
LPC work to support NHS Service Finder local coverage
LPCs may access the NHS Service Finder local coverage webpage to check the progress with local profiling.
A traffic light system indicates progress with profiling within your area.
LPCs may wish to consider flagging to the local DoS team (login required) and/or local NHS England team if the DoS team has a lot of remaining work to improve the local profiling (e.g. the area is highlighted as ‘amber’ or ‘red’ in regards to progress). Comprehensive profiling by all local DoS team ensures that pharmacies that use the NHS Service Finder can see better results. Thousands of pharmacy contractors have begun to use NHS Service Finder from early 2021. In the vast majority of England a high level of profiling has been completed.
In the event of queries, LPCs may contact Community Pharmacy England IT team: email@example.com.
Pharmacy comments: case study
Anjlee Shah, pharmacist from Farlington explained her experience of using the tool
“I find it to be a very useful reference tool especially for contacting a healthcare professional directly (with the non-public numbers) if I have any queries. For example a few days ago I had a Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) referral for minor illness that I felt needed review by the patient’s GP (some red flag symptoms). I was able to quickly locate the patient’s surgery details using NHS Service Finder and obtain details to the direct line so I could refer the patient and have them booked in for a review.
They provided me with their NHSmail for me to send the referral and they were expecting it, which made the difference. It gave the patient the reassurance that they needed because their symptoms had worsened because they didn’t want to bother the doctor and be disappointed with lack of appointment availability. It was this perception that meant that they had these symptoms for a long time and phoned OOH when it worsened (who then referred the patient to us). That’s just one example.
I hope in future it also might help enable even quicker signposting to pharmacies where this is needed. For example: pharmacies that work under specific Patient Group Directives and offer the services; accredited pharmacists providing Emergency hormonal contraception; etc. When we don’t offer a service that a patient is looking for (i.e. we don’t have PGD in place), we’d be better able to signpost to another pharmacy that does. And vice versa. This reduces the need for the patient or pharmacies to be phoning around different pharmacies and hoping for the best, this would help pharmacies find out info quickly. And the patient can get access to the service they need faster.
I have also found the tool very useful to signpost patients to services as well. And it’s so handy that you can email them the service information with contact number, opening times and it has an in-built map for directions. And they have the most updated contact info which is very useful.”
Video: healthcare professionals explain why to use the tool
The team behind the NHS Service Finder produced a YouTube video aimed at healthcare professionals explaining why they should make use of the tool. The video is narrated by several NHS Service Finder users including pharmacy dispenser, Sarah Davis. Key messages in the video for healthcare professionals are:
Other feedback from users of the tool
Also within pdf version.
- Sign-up now and bookmark the webpage (https://finder.directoryofservices.nhs.uk/) so you can return to it quickly.
- Look-up GP practices to identify their non-public numbers when clinically appropriate and necessary – using the ‘Contact Details Search’ option.
- Use NHS Service Finder to text or email an patient with details of an organisation you are referring them to. Maps and directions with transport and route options can help you advise the patient how best to get to the service.
- Introduce the rest of team including locums to the tool so that the whole team can identify the services available within the area.
Q. What is NHS Service Finder ?
NHS Service Finder is a free online search tool that:
- Allows pharmacy team members and other healthcare professionals to search for service information quickly, allowing a patient to be signposted to the most appropriate service for their needs.
- Provides access to information from the Urgent and Emergency Care Directory of Services and nhs.uk. This includes non-public telephone numbers (where available) and information about who is eligible for the service and how to refer a patient.
- Includes maps and directions to the services, plus the ability to email service information directly to your patient.
You can access NHS Service Finder from any device with an internet connection.
NB: Please use an up-to-date browser e.g. Internet Explorer 11/iOS 10 or above.
NHS Service Finder team have prepared help and guidance section which includes links to videos which explain more such as:
Q. How do I search for other health and care organisations?
See NHS Service Finder’s guidance:
Q. How do I find non-public phone numbers for other health and care organisations listed on NHS Service Finder?
Use one of the search options to look-up the organisation (see question above). If you know which organisation, it is best to use the ‘Check details of a specific service’ option. Non-public telephone numbers will be displayed (where available).
Q. Are all NHS health and care organisations listed?
The majority of NHS health and care organisations are listed and this is rising rapidly. Regional DoS leads have been asked to ensure that all relevant local organisations are listed on NHS Service Finder as quickly as possible. Please view the quick guide to searching for services help pages above to ensure the right search results. If you can’t find what you’re what you’re looking or something is wrong please use the feedback option (see question below).
Q. How do I provide feedback about NHS Service Finder?
Feedback is absolutely crucial to ensure NHS Service Finder is continually improved to meet your needs, and that the information that it displays is more relevant, more useful and more accurate. Your local expertise and knowledge is extremely valuable to the project team.
See NHS Service Finder’s guidance:
Q. How Is NHS Service Finder information sourced regarding pharmacy services?
NHS Service Finder pharmacy information is sourced from the urgent and emergency care Directory of Services controlled and maintained by local DoS team as per the table below.
|Information displayed by NHS Service Finder||Source of information||Pharmacy contractors can update this via DoS Profile Updater (if it is open)?|
|Pharmacy name||Directory of Services controlled and maintained by local DoS team.||Yes|
|Address excluding postcode||As above||Yes|
|Public phone number||As above||Yes|
|Opening hours (which should align with contractual hours)||As above||Yes|
|Email address||The email address displayed within NHS Service Finder pharmacy profiles is controlled by the local DoS leads.||No. At present the email cannot be updated via DoS Profile Updater. See FAQ directly below.|
If you have any questions about the “Important information (Non Public)” section of NHS Service Finder please contact your local DoS team / lead or provide feedback via NHS Service Finder as per other questions in this FAQs section.
Local DoS leads have been updating pharmacy profiles so more of them use the NHSmail shared mailbox. For consistency each pharmacy profile should have its shared NHSmail address being shown. This also helps with continuity because multiple members can link into the shared mailbox if there an unexpected sick leave. If your pharmacy is new and still needs to set-up shared NHSmail read about the set-up processor cpe.org.uk/nhsmail. Read more about updating email address if your NHSmail shared email address is not yet showing within the question below.
Q. I understand NHS Service Finder uses information from Directory of Services (DoS) and NHS website. What is DoS?
The DoS is a central directory of information, maintained by NHS Digital, which provides NHS 111 call handlers and others with real-time information about services available to support patients.
Pharmacies’ services and opening hours are included within the DoS and it is important to the efficient working of NHS 111 and some other urgent care providers that information on pharmacy services is accurate to allow patients to be appropriately referred to community pharmacies, such as for the Community Pharmacist Consultation Service(CPCS).
Pharmacy Contractors can use the DoS Profile Update toll when necessary.
Read more about DoS at: Community Pharmacy England’s DoS webpage.
Q. How is NHS Service Finder pharmacy email address sourced? How can I update the email address?
The email address displayed by NHS Service Finder is controlled by local DoS leads (as per the table above). If an email address displayed by NHS Service Finder needs updating then you may contact the local DoS lead / team directly or alternatively can use NHS Service Finder feedback ‘information is wrong’ option (so that NHS Service Finder team within two working days can pass the update to the local DoS lead/team who have also been asked to process changes). Please allow six working days before chasing your local DoS lead/team. Your LPC may be able to advise the contact details of your local DoS local DoS lead/team.
Note: You cannot currently use DoS Profile Updater to update the email address.
Q. I have noticed some information within my NHS Service Finder pharmacy profile which I’d like to update?
For updating general pharmacy information (other than email address which is dealt with above), Pharmacy teams should use the NHS Profile Manager or contact their local DoS lead / team if the information cannot be updated via NHS Profile Manager. Updates to DoS Profile Updater should be processed by local DoS leads.
You can also use NHS Service Finder to provide feedback about information which needs updating.
You may alternatively use NHS Service Finder feedback ‘information is wrong’ option. NHS Service Finder team aims to contact the DoS lead / team within two working days who will then deal with the query. Please allow six working days before chasing your local DoS lead/team. Your LPC may be able to advise about the contact details of DoS leads/teams.
See also NHS Service Finder team’s help and guidance section which includes links to videos which explain more such as:
Additionally: if you have any questions about the “Important information (Non-public)” area of NHS Service Finder please either: contact your local DoS team / lead or provide feedback via NHS Service Finder.
Q. Can I check whether my pharmacy is set to offer delivery of CPCS?
This functionality is no longer within the NHS Service Finder tool, to ensure that referrals are set through the correct pathways. To confirm the CPCS status you may wish to refer to the CPCS status seen within the DoS Profile Updater tool or to refer to the local DoS team (see question below).
Q. Other FAQs suggest I should contact my local DoS team, how do I contact my local DoS team?
A list of local contact details is available to users of NHS Service Finder. List of local DoS team contact info (login required).
Although in most cases, community pharmacy contractors ought to be able to update DoS information without needing to directly contact the local DoS team. In some cases Local Pharmaceutical Committees (LPCs) may work with local DoS teams in relation to relevant pharmacy contractor queries about local DoS information.