The online Find your NHS Number service which enables people to search for their NHS number was used 4.6million times in its first year.
The service, set up by NHS Digital, enables users to request their NHS number through a simple process on the NHS website. An NHS number is a unique 10-digit number which helps healthcare staff identify people correctly and match their details to their health records.
In the 12 months from the service’s launch in February 2021, a total of 4.6million notifications containing NHS numbers were sent, with 3.7million by text message, almost 557,000 by email and over 345,000 by letter.
A person’s NHS number can be found in most documents or letters sent from the NHS, as well as prescriptions. It can also be found through the NHS App, which has recently been found to save around 22,000 car journeys every month, and through some online GP services.
The Find your NHS Number service has made it simpler for people to complete forms and access services, such as booking a Covid-19 vaccination via the NHS website.
The service has also reduced the workload for GP practice staff, as previously the main way to find out an NHS number was through GP practices. The number of car journeys people have had to make have therefore also been cut, which has reduced carbon.
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.”
Latest figures show that the service has been used to notify people of NHS numbers 5.5million times between 1 February 2021 and 18 April this year.
The service 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.