National Record Locator (NRL)

Published on: 4th March 2023 | Updated on: 4th March 2023

The National Record Locator (NRL) is a service that holds pointers and enables access to data held in local provider systems. It is managed by NHS England’s Transformation Directorate.

The service is intended to facilitate national sharing and reduce the need for organisations to create duplicate copies of information across systems and organisations, by enabling access to up-to-date information directly from the source.

It can be used to store and publish ‘pointers‘ to patient data held in health systems across England, to look up where relevant patient data is held and to retrieve data. It is a form of indexing. It could also work with complementary services such as NHS Booking and Referral Standard (BaRS) to point to and retrieve booking, referrals, and appointment information.

The service already points to the data for mental health crisis plans and end of care plans. This capability is currently being explored with several Shared Care Record providers.

NRL information is also starting to be made available within the National Care Records Service (NCRS) portal (the replacement to the legacy SCRa portal).

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