Check to see if you are entitled to access a range of content purchased by the NHS. If you are eligible, you can register for an OpenAthens account on our online form.

Register for OpenAthens

Note: Our resources are for users in England only. Access to health resources is provided elsewhere for those living in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Authorised users

  • A. Employees, workers and contractors of NHS organisations which provide NHS-commissioned care in England
    Examples: NHS Trusts; GP practices; NHS Treatment Centres; Defence Medical Services; Prison Healthcare Services.

  • B. Individuals of non NHS organisations which provide NHS-commissioned care in England working directly with NHS patients
    Examples: independent, private, charitable and voluntary sector organisations; local authority organisations which provide NHS-commissioned care or work in partnership with the NHS to provide care to NHS patients, including dental practices pharmacies, hospices, cancer support charities and social enterprise organisations; government-funded bodies which provide public health services and organisations that work in partnership with NHS organisations.

  • C. Employees, workers and contractors of organisations which commission care for NHS patients in England
    Examples: Clinical Commissioning Groups, Commissioning Support Units; NHS England Area Teams; NHS Commissioning Boards; NHS Commissioning Support agencies; Local Authorities including those in a Public Health role.

  • D. Employees, workers and contractors of organisations which receive government funding to provide executive, regulatory, advisory and delivery services to the NHS in England
    Examples: The Department of Health (DH); Local Education and Training Boards; Health Education England; Monitor; the Care Quality Commission; DH ‘Arm’s Length Bodies’ including Special Health Authorities, Executive Agencies and Non Departmental Public Bodies, and DH-owned companies.

  • E. Individual employees, workers and contractors of organisations which receive government funding to provide social care services or information to support social care service delivery
    Examples: local authorities, Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, Social Care Institute for Excellence, Skills for Care, Centre for Excellence and Outcomes in Children and Young People's Services.

  • F. Registered health care professionals who provide NHS-commissioned care in England
    Examples: registered medical practitioners, dentists, dispensing and ophthalmic opticians, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and dispensing staff; registered professionals recognised by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and by the Health Professions Council, including independent sector nurses providing cancer care.

  • G. Individuals engaged to provide education, training or research for the NHS in England
    Examples: educators contracted to provide training to the NHS, librarians delivering services to NHS, researchers contracted to do DH- or NHS-funded research.

  • H. Healthcare students, from the date of commencement of an NHS commissioned education programme which involves practice and placement within NHS provider services, for the duration of their programme
    Note: Healthcare students at universities which have an OpenAthens administrator can have an NHS OpenAthens account for the duration of their course. Students at these universities will have NHS accounts set up for them by their administrator and should not attempt to register online. Healthcare students can also register for an NHS OpenAthens account when on their NHS placement.

  • I. Patients, carers and members of the public (walk-in access only)
    Note: Only those patients, carers and members of the public that have access to local NHS library & knowledge service premises in England can access NHS purchased content.

  • J. Any other person authorised by a national, regional or local Open Athens administrator to use or otherwise have the benefit of NHS Deliverables or Services.
    Examples: NHS volunteers; employees of PFI partners which provide maintenance, catering and portering services in hospitals; individual representatives of NHS-related collaboratives e.g. HealthWatch, Comprehensive Local Research Networks, Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care, Health Innovation & Education Clusters; individual public-sector employees working in partnership with the NHS e.g. coroner, health service ombudsman, police officer; registered members of NHS library services; at the discretion of NHS librarians, retired NHS staff who have retained their professional registration.


The following individual applications are excluded:

  • Persons working for private organisations commissioned to provide NHS care that does not have direct contact with NHS patients.
    Examples: Managers and administrators in private health and social care organisations, Locum Doctors between placements

The following organisations are excluded (except where individuals are eligible under A-J)

  • Royal Colleges
  • Higher Education Institutions
  • Private sector organisations which solely provide non-NHS commissioned care
  • Private sector organisations which provide consultancy services to the NHS
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Health-related research and information charities which do not provide NHS commissioned care or are not commissioned by the NHS to provide research and information
  • Commercial information providers