One Patient, One NHS Number, One NHS Care Record
The NHS number is an administrative identifier created and owned by the Secretary of State for Health to enable the reliable linkage of healthcare records. The robustness and dependability of the NHS number means that it can be used as the key patient identifier to combat any security risks as it does not include any patient identifiable information.
Using the NHS number as the main currency of communication
The NHS number will replace local identifiers such as hospital numbers in all
communications between hospitals and organisations.
This will allow everyone to communicate across the country using a common currency. As a result of using the NHS number duplicate information is less likely to be entered onto computer systems. This will reduce wasted appointment slots as appointment letters will be sent to the correct address. In turn this will reduce waiting times.
Everyone in England and Wales has an NHS number.
All Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and GP practices are informed of each patientsí NHS number and this is used as the main identifier for the patientsí health record.
All acute trusts, the community and mental health trusts should be using patientsí NHS numbers as the main patient identifier
The NHS number benefits patients by:
- Safeguarding the security and confidentiality of their data
- Enabling patients to use new services such as 'Choose and Book' and the 'Electronic Prescription Service'
- Protecting their identity. The biggest risk to patient confidentiality is when the information being exchanged between healthcare professionals contains patient identifiable information such as; name, address, date of birth etc. The NHS number does not include any personal patient identifiable information.
Visit the NHS Direct website