You don't need to know your NHS number or have one to receive care, but it helps the NHS match your details to your health records. If you are registered with a GP, you will already have an NHS number. So where do you find it?
Your NHS number is a number made up of 10 digits, and it is unique to you.
Most people won't know their NHS number off by heart, because you will rarely need to use it.
Others might have an old-style number made up of both letters and numbers.
These have been replaced for all patients by the new numbers made up of digits alone.
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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.
For example, you may need to pay for prescriptions, dental care, eye care, wigs and fabric supports.
You won't need to quote your NHS number when going to visit your GP, but it is important to know it to provide staff with when asked.
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.
How do I find my NHS number?
You can find your NHS number in three different ways.
The first way is by checking NHS documents and letters, such as your prescriptions, test results, hospital referral letters, and appointment letters.
You could also find your NHS number online by logging into the NHS App or some GP online services.
Your GP surgery will also have a record of your NHS number, so you can call them and ask them to provide it for you. You may have to prove your identity, though.
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If you are registered for NHS care in England, Wales or the Isle of Man, you should have an NHS number.
They are assigned to you soon after you are born or the first time you get NHS care or treatment.
Your NHS number is valid for life, unless you are assigned a new one.
People are rarely assigned new NHS numbers. Possible reasons include adoption or gender reassignment.
If you have never had an NHS number, received care or treatment, you won't be registered to a GP.
You can register with a GP practice by submitting a registration form to them.
If you don't already have a number, you will be assigned one during registration.
Your registration letter will be sent to you in the post, with your NHS number shown on the letter.