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If you are searching for information on a particular topic, there are a range of databases that can help you to locate and access the relevant literature. You will need an NHS OpenAthens account for many of these- self-register for an account here:

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NHS Healthcare Databases

NHS staff needing to carry out robust and reprodicible advanced literature searches for audit, guidelines, research or systematic reviews, can do so by using databases such as Medline, Cinahl or Embase. These are available via NHS OpenAthens links on our Databases A-Z  page or via links on  the  NHS Knowledge and Library Hub. The databases are hosted via one or more of the following platforms- Ovid, EbscoHost or ProQuest.

Databases available include

  • AMED (Ovid)
  • BNI (Proquest)
  • CINAHL (EbscoHost)
  • Embase (Ovid)
  • Emcare (Ovid)
  • HMIC (Ovid)
  • Medline (EbscoHost, Ovid, Proquest)
  • PsycINFO  (Proquest)
  • Social Policy and Practice (Ovid)

You can name and save your searches via personal accounts in order to rerun them for future reference, and you can also easily save results from a search, export them, or share them by email. All articles that are available through NHS OpenAthens will include a link to the full text content. 

For help with searching these resource check out our libguides for the relevant platform, try one of our information skills sessions or email to make an appointment to see one of our librarians.

As of March 31st 2022, the NHS HDAS system provided by NICE is decommissioned.


PubMed is a free resource developed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), which comprises more than 28 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher websites.

Cochrane Library
Access a collection of databases, including the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials and Epistemonikos, which is an additional database of systematic reviews.
The Trip medical database searches across content from a broad variety of sources, and includes systematic reviews, clinical guidelines from around the world and evidence-based synopses and evidence updates, along with primary research articles from PubMed. Results are ranked according to a hierarchy of evidence, and are clearly marked to indicate the type of evidence offered, like systematic review, primary research or guideline. Login via NHS OpenAthens for full functionality.
Library training on databases

The library at St George’s, University of London provides a training session, titled 'Finding the Evidence', which offers guidance on the effective use of databases, including how to identify the most appropriate databases for your topic, how to create and plan a search, how to combine and limit searches to focus your results, and how to save results and set up search alerts.  A further course called 'Systematic reviews, finding and managing the evidence' allows delegates to deepen their knowledge of the literature search process.

1-1 appointments are also available by emailing


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