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

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

Register for OpenAthens

Authorised users

Employees, workers and contractors of NHS organisations which provide NHS-commissioned care in England (A)

Examples: NHS Trusts; GP practices; NHS Treatment Centres; Defence Medical Services; Prison Healthcare Services.

Individuals of non-NHS organisations which provide NHS-commissioned care in England. The individual must be working directly with NHS patients (B)

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, state-funded school nurses, and social enterprise organisations; government-funded bodies which provide public health services and organisations that work in partnership with NHS organisations.

Employees, workers and contractors of organisations which commission care for NHS patients in England (C)

Examples: Integrated Care Boards, Commissioning Support Units; Local Authorities, including those in a Public Health role.

Employees, workers and contractors of organisations which receive government funding to provide executive, regulatory, advisory and delivery services to the NHS in England (D)

Examples: The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC); NHS England; the Care Quality Commission; DHSC ‘Arm’s Length Bodies’ including Special Health Authorities, Executive Agencies and Non Departmental Public Bodies, and DHSC-owned companies.

Individual employees, workers and contractors of organisations which receive government funding to provide social care services or information to support social care service delivery (E)

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.

Registered health care professionals who provide NHS-commissioned care in England (F)

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.

Individuals contracted to provide education, training or research for the NHS in England (G)

Examples: educators contracted to provide training to the NHS, librarians delivering services to NHS, researchers contracted to do DHSC- or NHS-funded research.

Healthcare students, from the date of commencement of an education programme which involves practice and placement within NHS provider services, for the duration of their programme (H)

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.

Patients, carers and members of the public (walk-in access only) (I)

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.

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 (J).

Examples: NHS volunteers; employees of partners which provide maintenance, catering and portering services in hospitals; individual representatives of NHS-related collaboratives e.g. HealthWatch, Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care, 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 do not provide direct clinical care for 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 authorised users)

  • 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.