NHS number

One Patient, One NHS Number, One NHS Care Record

What is the NHS number?

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.

Who has an NHS number?

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:

How can YOU find your NHS number?

Visit the NHS Direct website