Healthcare databases

On this page you will find information about healthcare databases available to you.


Healthcare databases are electronic databases which draw together information on medicine and subjects allied to medicine and healthcare from many different sources into one searchable database. Similar to the index in a book, by conducting a search you can find all the content within the database on a specific topic.  Journal articles, systematic reviews and conference proceedings are examples of the type of information you might find in your search results.
Carrying out a search on the databases is often referred to as a literature search or evidence search. An introductory leaflet to literature searching is available. If you would like the library to undertake the evidence search for you see Request an evidence search.

The NHS purchases access to the following healthcare databases for staff and students on placement:

  • AMED (physiotherapy, OT, rehabilitation & complementary medicine);
  • British Nursing Index (small database of popular British nursing journals);
  • CINAHL (nursing and allied health, including recent US research);​​
  • EMBASE (European database of biomedical and pharmacological literature);
  • EMCARE (nursing and allied health);
  • HMIC (Health management information consortium): a compilation of DH-Data (health administration and toxicology) and King's Fund records (health improvement and management);
  • ​​Medline (the largest database, covers clinical, medical and nursing literature);
  • PsycINFO (psychology, psychiatry and related disciplines).

We are happy to provide help or advice in deciding on the most appropriate databases for your search.


Help and guidance leaflets are available to help you, see:
Alternatively, take a short e-learning training course to teach yourself how to use the databases.
Please note that this is not intended to be an exhaustive list, and you may have access to further databases via other sources such as your professional association or royal college membership.
All databases and resources listed below are free and do not require a login unless otherwise stated.
Hosted by NICE Evidence
Evidence Search – a Google style search engine, NHS Evidence allows users to search for evidence from a wide range of health and social care sources and includes prescribing and medical information from external sources such as the BNF.
Clinical Knowledge Summaries – a readily accessible summary of the current evidence base and practical guidance on best practice in respect of over 300 common and/or significant primary care presentations.
Systematic Reviews
Considered to be the highest level of evidence, systematic reviews draw together the literature on a topic and synthesises it into one overall review. Sometimes a meta-analysis is also included.
Clinical Guidelines
Clinical guidelines are created to help practitioners and patients decide on appropriate treatment for specific clinical conditions and/or circumstances. In the UK, with variations for Wales and Scotland, guidelines are developed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). In Scotland guidelines are overseen by NHS Quality Improvement Scotland and delivered by Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN).  
NHS Evidence (run your search and then filter the results by types of information - guidelines)

TRIP : Turning Research Into Practice - clinical search engine. Sign up to the site and follow this guide to enable the discovery of full-text links to resources held by RJAH Library & Knowledge Service. Run your search and then filter the results by Guidelines (includes USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK and 'other'). Click here for a list of short videos designed to help you get the most out of the TRIP databases. (NB Video clips not available on Trust networked computers). Please note that users gain enhanced accessed to Trip Pro  when on NHS Trust networked devices.

Clinical Search Engines
TRIP Pro – clinical search engine (it should be noted that this is a commercial website)
Pubget – search engine with facility to link to PubMed (it should be noted that this is a commercial website)
The following databases might be of interest if you are seeking to find academic or research content.
UK Clinical Trials Gateway is here to help you make informed choices about clinical trials. We offer useful guidance on how trials work and help connect you to researchers running trials you might be interested in.
If you are on placement at the Trust or a Trust member of staff doing a university course, you will need an ATHENS password from your academic institution to access the resources they purchase for you.
Links to the library websites of our partner universities are provided below: