The NHS Number was developed specifically to support unique patient identification within the NHS.
The NHS number is important because of the way the NHS identifies the patient. As a patient you need to be able to recognise your own number and check it on things the NHS sends you. Keeping it safe and handy helps the NHS find your records more quickly.
Babies born in England and Wales are allocated an NHS number at birth. An NHS number can also be allocated to a patient who :
- permanently joins an NHS GP Surgery or Health Centre practice list
- receives treatment from a hospital able to allocate NHS numbers
- requests one from a Primary Care Trust who will allocate them to a local NHS GP practice list.