An online service enabling people to look up their NHS number quickly and easily was used 4.6 million times in its first year.
The Find your NHS Number service, set up by NHS Digital, allows people to request their NHS number through a simple process on the NHS website.
In the 12 months from its launch in February 2021, a total of 4.6 million notifications containing NHS numbers were sent – 3.7 million by text message, almost 557,000 by email and over 345,000 by letter.
An NHS number is a unique 10-digit number which helps healthcare staff identify people correctly and match their details to their health records.
The Find your NHS Number service has made it easier for people to complete forms and access services, such as booking a coronavirus (Covid) vaccination via the NHS website. Though it’s not necessary to know your NHS number to book a vaccination through the NHS website, it makes it easier to locate your details on the booking system. Some local online appointment booking services also require your NHS number.
Find your NHS Number has also reduced the workload for GP practice staff, as previously the main way to find out an NHS number was through GP practices – so it has additionally cut the number of journeys people had to make, reducing carbon.
Latest figures show that the service has been used to notify people of NHS numbers 5.5 million times between 01 February 2021 and 18 April this year.
James Hawkins, Executive Director of Product Delivery at NHS Digital, said: ‘This is a fantastic, simple and user-friendly service which has brought benefits to millions of people since it was launched last year.
‘Not only has it made it easier for people to book appointments and supported the roll-out of the Covid vaccination, it has also reduced the burden on GP practices. In addition, with less than 10% of notifications sent by letter, the service is as carbon neutral as possible and is contributing to our sustainability goals.’
Find your NHS Number can be used by anyone registered with a GP in England by entering their name, date of birth and postcode. Their NHS number will then be sent by text message, email or letter to the contact details held by their GP.