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What is an NHS number?

An NHS number is a 10-digit number, like 485 777 3456.

Your NHS number is unique to you. It helps healthcare staff and service providers identify you correctly and match your details to your health records.

If you have an NHS number, it does not mean you're automatically entitled to the free use of all NHS services.

In England, you usually have to pay patient contributions towards some NHS services.


You do not need your NHS number to use NHS services, including booking appointments.

How to find your NHS number

Documents and letters

You can find your NHS number in most documents or letters sent to you by the NHS, such as your:

  • prescriptions
  • test results
  • hospital referral letters
  • appointment letters


You can find your NHS number online by using the Find your NHS number service.

You can also find it by logging in to:

  • the NHS App (you'll need to register if you have not used it before)
  • some GP online services

Your GP surgery

You can call your GP surgery and ask them for your NHS number.

You may need to prove your identity over the phone or visit your GP surgery with proof of identity.

Medical cards

Medical cards with your NHS number are no longer sent out in England.

If you had one and you lost it, you do not need a replacement.

How to get an NHS number

If you have had NHS care or treatment

You should have an NHS number if you registered for NHS care in England, Wales or the Isle of Man.

Your NHS number is assigned to you soon after you're born or the first time you get NHS care or treatment.

This number is valid for life unless you're assigned a new number due to a reason like adoption or gender reassignment.

If you have never had NHS care or treatment

You can register with a GP practice to get an NHS number.

If you do not already have an NHS number, you'll be assigned one during registration.

You'll get a registration letter in the post and your NHS number will be shown in the letter.

What to do if you're denied care

If you're denied care because you do not know your NHS number or you do not have an NHS number, contact NHS England's customer contact centre.

Page last reviewed: 10 September 2019
Next review due: 10 September 2022