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NHS Evidence

NHS Evidence provides access to bibliographic databases for NHS staff.  Access is available through the Health Databases Advanced Search (HDAS).  All databases require an NHS OpenAthens account.  The main databases available to you are MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE and EMCARE.  See the database descriptions below. These databases are full text.  This means you will be able to click through to the full text of most journal articles you find.

Database Descriptions

MEDLINE (ProQuest) 

MEDLINE offers over 23 million citations and abstracts, providing unparalleled access to worldwide biomedical literature. Produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, MEDLINE has extensive subject coverage including: biomedical areas; mental health; reproductive health; epidemiology; surgical and pharmaceutical intervention; nursing practice; ethical and legal issues; institutional operations; laboratory techniques and procedures; diagnosis and management; clinical research trials and experimental treatment protocols; legislation and regulation; allied health specialties; continuing education; investigational drugs and new drug uses; and some veterinary medicine.


CINAHL provides indexing of the top nursing and allied health literature available.  Literature covers a wide range of topics including nursing, biomedicine, health sciences paramedicine, alternative/complementary medicine, consumer health and 17 allied health disciplines.


Embase (Excerpta Medica Database) is a biomedical and pharmacological database containing more than 30 million records including articles from more than 8,500 journals published world-wide. It contains bibliographic records with citations, abstracts and indexing derived from biomedical articles in peer-reviewed journals, and is especially strong in its coverage of drug and pharmaceutical research, pharmacology and toxicology. This field guide provides scope of information specific to the Embase database.


Emcare covers all nursing specialties and nursing healthcare professions, including international coverage of allied health, education and training, development and management, midwifery, health and healthcare economics, clinical medical and healthcare social work, paramedicine, psychiatry and mental health, and traumatology, emergency, and critical-care medicine.


Databases FAQ

What are bibliographic databases?

Bibliographic databases are collections of records of scholarly or peer-reviewed journal articles and sometimes conference papers.  Typically they cover one broad subject area such as medicine. They can contain hundreds of thousands or even millions of records.  Bibliographic databases can be searched using a number of criteria to find journal articles on a particular topic.  Increasingly they link search results to the full text of journal articles. Bibliographic databases that do this are called full-text databases.

Why would I use a bibliographic database?

Use bibliographic databases to search for peer-reviewed journal articles on a specific topic.  Typically you might need current research to build on other published sources, such as books, or you want to create an evidence base for an improvement or intervention. 

What database do we have?

You have access to two major medical databases MEDLINE and EMBASE.  In addition, you have access to databases on subjects allied to medicine, CINAHL, and EMCARE. CINAHL contains records from the Journal of Paramedic Practice and the British Paramedic Journal.

How do I learn to search?

If you need help with searching you can contact the Librarian, Matt Holland.  If you want to learn about search tools and techniques you can review the materials in the Information Skills: Searching section of the Apprentice Hub.


Logging in to NHS Evidence

To log in to bibliographic databases via NHS Evidence:

  • Go to [ ]
  • Click on the link to Journals and Databases
  • Click on the link to Healthcare Databases Advanced Search [HDAS]
  • Login using your NHS OpenAthens Account

If you need more help you can watch this video.