Your NHS Number
Your NHS number is unique to you and 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. Every one registered with the NHS in England and Wales has their own NHS number.
Each NHS number is a unique10-digit number which is printed on your NHS medical card. An example of an NHS number is 450 557 7104.
Some older medical cards include an old-style NHS number which consists of both numbers and letters. Although having an old-style NHS number will not affect the NHS care provided to you, the old style numbers have now been replaced with the new-style format which was first introduced in 1996.
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.
Is my NHS number the same as my National Insurance 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 National Insurance number contact the local office of the Department of Work and Pensions. To find your local office, visit:
- Telephone - 0845 600 0643 between 8.00am and 6.00pm, Monday to Friday.
- Textphone - 0845 600 0644 for those hard of hearing, or with speech difficulties
How can I find out my NHS Number?
If you want to know your NHS number or you have an old style number and want to know your new 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 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 do this by going to a local GP practice yourself to register. To protect your privacy, they may ask you to provide them with a passport, driving licence or some other proof of who you are.
To find your nearest GP practice visit the NHS Choices website select ‘NHS trusts’ and enter your postcode. Alternatively, call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.
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. More information on overseas visitors using the NHS is available on the department of health website .
If you have recently had a baby
Babies born in hospital in England and Wales are given an NHS number soon afterbirth. 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 the things the NHS sends you to make sure they have the right NHS number.