Your healthcare, your record, your number
What is my NHS Number?
Everyone registered with the NHS in England 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. 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 (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.
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.
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 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 www.dwp.gov.uk.
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 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.
To find out the telephone number for your nearest PCT visit
'Find services - Primary care trusts' and enter your postcode. Alternatively, to find out your local PCT, call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.
When you telephone your local PCT, ask for the Patient and Practitioners’ Service Agency. Registration staff will take your name, date of birth, address and then issue you with a medical card, usually within two days.
What if I have never registered with a GP practice?
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 your nearest GP practice or PCT visit our 'Find services' section or call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.
What if I am 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 at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/index.htm