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Your NHS number

What is the NHS number?

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

Most GP practices will send you a letter containing your NHS Number when you register with them.

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, usually as follows (example only):

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.

The first time you register with a GP practice, you'll receive a GP registration letter, which will confirm your NHS Number. If you can't find your NHS Number at home, your GP practice should be able to help you.

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).

How can I find out my NHS number?

You should be able to find your NHS Number on any letter or document you have received from the NHS, including prescriptions, test results, and hospital referral or appointment letters.

If you cannot find your NHS Number at home, you can ask your GP practice to help you. They should be able to provide the number for you as long as you are registered with them. To protect your privacy, you may be asked to show a passport, driving licence or some other proof of identity.

For further information about the NHS number visit the NHS website.