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The NHS Number

Your healthcare, your record, your number.

Everyone registered with the NHS in England and Wales has their own unique number. You will be given your NHS Number in writing 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 in a 3-3-4 format, usually as follows:

(This is an example 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.

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 and efficiency of your healthcare.

If you know your NHS Number, or have it on a document or letter, you can help healthcare staff find your records more easily and share them safely with other people who are caring for you.

NHS staff will begin to ask for your NHS Number more often, so remember to keep it in a safe place that you have easy access to.

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 (NI) number?

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

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.

You can also check any recent letters you have had from the NHS, as these should now include your NHS Number. It is important to keep a record of your NHS Number safe, as it will be used in any letters or health records about you.

I am registered with a GP surgery. What is my NHS Number?

If you're registered with a GP, you will already have an NHS Number. To find out your NHS Number, contact your GP practice and ask them to look it up. To protect your privacy, you may be asked to show a passport, driving licence or some other proof of identity. 

What if I have never registered with a GP surgery?

Anyone who has registered with a GP practice in England, Wales or the Isle of Man will have an NHS Number. Also, since 2002 all babies born in England, Wales or the Isle of Man will automatically get an NHS Number. 

If you were born before October 2002 and never registered with a GP practice then it's unlikely that you have an NHS Number. In that case, you should register with a GP practice as soon as possible. You can find out about local GP practices via this website. Here you'll also be able to find out if the GP practice is accepting new patients at the moment. NHS England may also be able to help.

What if I am visiting the country for less than three months?

If you are a visitor to this country and require NHS care, you will be allocated an NHS Number where it is possible to do so. In cases where the organisation is unable to allocate an NHS Number directly, you will be given a local number (for example a hospital number).

Having an NHS Number does not entitle you to free NHS treatment. For more information see our guide for overseas visitors to the UK.

Will my new baby have an NHS Number?

If  your baby was born in a hospital in England or Wales, they should have been given an NHS Number through the hospital system shortly after the birth.

If your baby was born at home, the health visitor will usually tell you the baby’s NHS Number when they next see you and the baby at your home or at their clinic.

Why have the old NHS Numbers been replaced?

The new-style 10-digit NHS Number was created specifically to help make it easier for patients to be uniquely identified across the NHS.

The first nine digits are used to identify you and the 10th is used to confirm that the number is valid. This 10-digit number was introduced in 1996 (replacing the older version) to improve accuracy, access to information and confidentiality.

Comments

The 25 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

DOMINIK123 said on 01 October 2014

I still waiting for a new card NHS. My old card end 30/06/2014. Who and when send me a new card.

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Finump said on 11 September 2014

I have just returned to the UK (I left in 1975), I tried registering with a GP but I couldn't remember my NHS number.
I've now found it, it is on my birth certificate, it is MZMI111. Will a modern-day GP's surgery accept this or do I need to get the NHS to change it first to a today's format one?

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Milushev said on 16 June 2014

Hi,

I have registered with my local GP but have not received my NHS letter and my card.I do not know my NHS number.

Thanks.

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Jana 1303 said on 24 March 2014

Hi,

I have registered with my local GP but have not received my NHS letter yet so I do not know my NHS number. I was told to wait but it has been over three weeks and still nothing.

Is that common? Should I be worried or simply just wait?

Thanks.

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Pooja Mahajan said on 04 March 2014

I have recently registered with my GP and I haven't received my registration letter.
I don't have my NHS number.
Could someone please help.

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freeradical said on 19 December 2013

I changed my name by deed poll a few years ago and all relevant organisations (Banks, Inland Revenue, National Insurance, etc) were notified but when changing Doctors (who also know of my name change) I have received the new "confirmation of GP registration" letter in my old name!

I cannot find anywhere on this site where I can correct or amend these details.

How do I do it?

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antonio8888 said on 30 July 2013

I'm Portuguese and been living in England for a while now, I'm just wondering to know how I can get my NHS number? Thanks.

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coakland said on 08 May 2013

I was in the UK 1994-1996 for studies, and had an NHS number. I since have misplaced it.

I'm wondering how I might go about relocated this.

Thanks you.

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sebsmumma said on 02 April 2013

i had trouble finding out my NHS number so i rang my local hospital & asked them, 5mins later i had it :)

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soulmat said on 23 March 2013

I cannot understand the reason why I cannot find my NHS number. My family had already registered with GP last Sep. Since then, over 6 months have gone. But the GP still said they didn't know my NHS number although the registration was obvious. I had called to ask the NHS numbers but the staff just said to ask the gp. How can I find the NHS number? I guess I did not receive any information such as vaccination for my children because of the NHS number problem.

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Coolkllu said on 25 February 2013

I need to knw my NHS number I registers last month I need my NHS number soo impudently.. How can take that number

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kentlass said on 04 January 2013

how can i get my NHS number, i live in Australia but i would like be able to get my Uk pension having worked there for 12 years before migrating. i do not have any records of it.

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spannerintheworks said on 13 November 2012

This site says: Your healthcare, your record, your number

Does this mean I can access my medical records, add to it, change it or share with others whom I wish to know about my medical history, conditions, and vital information?

Does it mean that I can create my own cloud based medical record and make my information and detail known to approved and relevant healthcare professions?

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peterh1 said on 09 November 2012

I just want to let you know that it is very difficult to find out an NHS number! I just spent 2 hours on the phone and phoned 5 different numbers and still no success. No one could tell me my NHS number. So now I am waiting for a call back in the next 2 hours.
But really is it so difficult to let us our NHS number know?

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dianap9450 said on 26 October 2012

I have just been going through my medical cards and noticed that after almost a year and sending two applications, I have mine, my little girls and husbands medical cards, but still nothing for my older daughter, Im fed up of re-sending application forms, this should have never taken a year and has never taken that long in the past, can you help please? thanks

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cloudyka said on 19 September 2012

I would like to renew my old medical card.I went to local medical center which I register long time ago.The lady said she can't search my record because I was moved out. what should I do now?

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LondonRik said on 26 July 2012

My wife is Canadian and she recently got her visa (that qualifies her to live/work and/or study here for 2 years), what would be the best way for her to get an NHS number?

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LondonRik said on 26 July 2012

My wife is Canadian and she recently got her visa (that qualifies her to live/work and/or study here for 2 years), what would be the best way for her to get an NHS number?

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wxzzxw said on 31 May 2012

Hi, I am born in South Korea and live in London for studying. I have NHS ID but I really don't know what is my NHS number.
I want to get my NHS number for applying EHIC. Can you send my valid NHS number to e-mail as soon as possible ?

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Joey3112 said on 08 May 2012

Hi, I want some advice on what to do. I recently arrived back in the UK after living in Spain for 5 years and am now permanently living back here. I dont know either my NHS number or the address of my previous doctor. What do I put on my registration form??

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iliasvlachos said on 26 February 2012

Hi I arrived to UK, I have a permanent address and permanent job. I registered with my GP about a month ago. I still havent got my NHS number. I asked them few days ago and they told me to wait few weeks more. Is this normal? since in this website says my NHS number will arrive after few days
thank you.
ilias

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mrmike said on 15 January 2012

I have my old national health medical card with 4 letters and 3 numbers. I wish to get an updated number. I have a phone # for the NHS butwhich is 0845 4647 but there seems not to be enough numbers. My mothers # has 10 numbers?? I am in Canada at present and will be coming home to look after her. At 91 she needs home care. Thanks. Mikey

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Miss_MS said on 04 November 2011

Hi mikeyy1966, just go to the gp you would like to register with, find out if they are taking new patients - if yes, fill their form and submit your form to them, you will get your NHS number through post in a couple of days - and if no, then find another gp and follow the above protocol. Live healthy :)

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Miss_MS said on 04 November 2011

Hi ter, have u tried contacting NHS direct or the PWD for your lost NHS number??? I would suggest you to. And secondly go to www.saynoto0870.com , there you type in your 0845 number or 'NHS' you will get loads of local landline numbers... You shouldn't be any trouble calling those numbers.
And thirdly I hope you are calling using correct country code when calling that 0845 number from Germany bcos I never faced this problem when calling from abroad...
Hope this has answered your queries if not then fire your questions, will definitely try to find the answers... Ta

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mikeyy1966 said on 07 August 2011

I am born in the Netherlands and been living in England for a while now. How do I get my NHS number so I can register my self with a GP?

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Page last reviewed: 23/08/2013

Next review due: 23/08/2015

Need further help?

If you have a question related to an NHS Number please read the FAQs for patients (PDF, 320kb) which contains most common questions. If you do not find the answer to your question, please contact nhsnumber@hscic.gov.uk for further help.

Sharing your data

Sharing some of your personal information, such as your postcode or NHS number, could help the NHS provide better services

NHS GP services

Find out what services NHS GPs offer, how to register and what to do if you are not happy with your GP service

Healthcare for visitors to the UK

If you are an overseas visitor you may be charged for some NHS treatments. Find our how to access healthcare while in England

The Tokkels - Don't ignore health problems

If you think you've got a health problem, don't ignore it. The solution might be simple.

Media last reviewed: 02/10/2013

Next review due: 02/10/2015