The National Health Insurance Identification number is a unique identification number the government of the U.K. gives to its citizens. Commonly, this number is confused with the National Insurance Number. The difference is that while the National Health Insurance Identification (sometimes just called NHS Number) is concerned with health care and is given at the time of a person's birth; the National Insurance Number is assigned to a U.K. citizen at the time the citizen turns 16 and deals with legalities connected to work, such as a work permit.
Need for NHS Number
The NHS identification number helps the government coordinate within the network of NHS centers and to analyze the nature of health care at a national and local level. An NHS identification number entitles a person to avail of health care services from the National Health Service, a national service. In order to be eligible, you must meet certain guidelines. For example, you must either be a citizen of the United Kingdom or a permanent resident in the United Kingdom.
Getting an NHS Number
An NHS number can be obtained for the first time for a child at the hospital at which the child has been delivered. Upon delivery, each child born in Britain who is a British citizen or resident is given access to an NHS number. If you lose this number, or become a permanent resident and want to apply for one to get treatment under the NHS, you will need to follow a different procedure and formally request the number from the government. Once issued, the unique, 10-digit number is a permanent number that you will use for all NHS services.
Getting an NHS Number
If you need to get an NHS number, you have to go to a health center or GP surgery center that is affiliated with the NHS and request to be admitted to the list of patients. You will have to submit proof of residence and/or your address, show identification and fill out paperwork. You will be added to the NHS system if approved and issued an NHS number. Alternatively, you can go to a Primary Care Trust (PCT) and request to become an NHS patient with an NHS number. The PCT is the center a person first visits when there is a health problem. The staff of this Trust will place you an NHS GP surgery list provided your documentation is in order. Finally, you can also visit a designated NHS hospital that can allot NHS numbers. Not all hospitals are allowed to do this, though, so you will need to confirm that the hospital has the authority to issue such numbers. Some details laddress and date of birth are necessary. Regardless of which method you request the number from, your card and NHS number are issued in an average of two working days if your documents are all in order.
National Health Service: Connecting for Health: NHS Number
National Health Service: NHS Number