What is an NHS Number?

Everyone registered with the NHS in England, Wales and the Isle of Man has a unique patient identifier called an NHS Number.

When you register with a GP practice, you'll receive a letter containing your NHS Number. If you can't find your NHS Number at home, your GP practice should be able to help you.

Your NHS Number helps healthcare staff and service providers identify you correctly and match your details to your health records.

This will ensure you receive safe and efficient care within the NHS.

Each NHS Number is made up of 10 digits shown in a 3-3-4 format.

Example of a 10-digit NHS Number

Your NHS Number is unique to you. The number will appear on most official documents and letters you receive from the NHS, including prescriptions, test results or hospital appointment letters.

You don't need to know your NHS Number to receive care, and you shouldn't be denied care on the basis you do not know, or do not have, an NHS Number.

But having an NHS Number doesn't mean you're automatically entitled to the free use of all NHS services. Patients in England are required to pay patient contributions towards some NHS services they receive.

Read more about paying NHS charges.

You'll need your NHS Number to book hospital appointments online through the NHS e-Referral Service or to register for the Electronic Prescription Service.

Note: medical cards are no longer issued in England. If you still have one, it may have an old-style NHS Number made up of both letters and numbers.

In recent years this has been replaced with an NHS Number that only contains numbers (as shown in the example above).

Page last reviewed: 11/06/2018
Next review due: 11/06/2021