Patients

Your NHS Number

Picture of the NHS Number rubber stampEveryone registered with the NHS in England and Wales has their own NHS Number. It is the only national unique patient identifier, used to help healthcare staff and service providers match you to your health records. It is an important step towards providing you with safer patient care.

What is my NHS Number?

Everyone registered with the NHS in England and Wales has their own unique NHS Number. Your NHS Number helps healthcare staff to find your health records. Each NHS Number is made up of 10 digits, shown like this: 450 557 7104 (please note: this is an example number only).

If you have an old medical card, it will have an old style NHS number made up of both letters and numbers. This has now been replaced for all patients by a new NHS number made up entirely of numbers. Having the old-style NHS Number will not affect your care.


Some Questions and Answers about the your NHS Number

Is my NHS Number the same as my NI Number?

No, your NHS Number is different from your National Insurance (NI) number, which is used for tax and pensions. If you have any questions about your NI number contact the local office of the Department of Work and Pensions. To find your local office, visit the website of the Department of Work and Pensions.

How do I find my NHS Number?

If you want to know your NHS Number, or you have an old style number and want to know your new 10 digit one, please follow the instructions below:

If you are registered with a GP practice, you will already have an NHS Number

To find out your NHS Number you can contact your GP practice and ask them to look it up. To protect your privacy, they may ask you to show them a passport, driving licence or some other proof of who you are.

If you are not currently registered with a GP practice, but think you already have an NHS Number

To find out your NHS Number, you can ask your local primary care trust (PCT) to look it up for you.

To find out the telephone number for your nearest primary care trust, visit the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk (Opens external website), go to 'Primary Care Trusts' in the 'Find Services' section and enter you postcode. Or, call NHS Direct on 0845 4647

When you phone you local primary care trust, explain that you would like to know your NHS Number and ask if they have a department who deal with 'patient GP registrations'. They should be able to give you your NHS Number, or they will pass you on to the right person within that primary care trust who can.

If you have never registered with a GP practice, you will not have an NHS Number

When you register with a local GP practice, you will be given an NHS Number as part of registration. You can either go to a GP practice yourself to register or ask your local PCT to put you on the list of a local GP practice.

To find out the telephone number for your nearest PCT visit the NHS Choices website - select 'NHS trusts' and enter your postcode. Alternatively, to find out your local PCT, call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

Do I need my NHS Number to get care?

No, it is not essential to know your NHS Number, but it will be helpful if you are able to give it to NHS staff who need to find your health records.

If you are visiting the country for less than three months

If you are a visitor, you will currently not be given a permanent NHS Number. Find more information on overseas visitors using the NHS.

If you have recently had a baby

Babies born in hospital in England and Wales are given an NHS Number soon after birth. If your baby was born at home, you will receive an NHS Number when you register your baby's birth.

Why is the NHS Number important to me?

Your NHS Number is unique to you. Using your NHS Number to identify you correctly is an important step towards improving the safety of your healthcare.

If you know your NHS Number, or can show your medical card, you can help healthcare staff find your records more easily and share them safely with others who are caring for you.

As an added safety measure, you can start checking things the NHS sends you to make sure they have the right NHS Number.

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