What is the NHS Number?
Everyone registered with the NHS in England and Wales has their own unique NHS Number. Your NHS Number is printed on your medical card given to you when you register with a GP Practice, and by September 18th should be included with any written documentation you receive from the NHS. Your number helps healthcare staff to find your health records. Each NHS Number is made up of 10 digits, shown like this: 123-456-7890 (please note: this is an example number).
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.
Do I need my NHS Number to get care?
No, it is not essential to know your NHS Number, but it can sometimes be helpful if you are able to give it to NHS staff who need to find your health records.
How do I find my NHS Number?
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, you can ask your local primary care trust (PCT) to look it up for you. To find out the telephone number for your nearest PCT visit the NHS Choices website - select 'NHS trusts' and enter your postcode. Alternatively, call NHS Direct on 0845 4647. When you telephone your local PCT, ask for the Patient and Practitioners' Service Agency. Staff will take your name, date of birth, address and then issue you with a medical card, usually within two days.
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.
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, you can help healthcare staff find your records more easily and share them safely with others who are caring for you.
As a safety measure, please check any correspondence you receive from the NHS to make sure services are using the right number for you.
Does my newborn baby have a number?
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.
I am a tourist visiting England - do I have a number?
If you are a visitor to the country, you will currently not be given an NHS Number.