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For the public

We have a duty to ensure patient data remains confidential. Learn how our work improves public health and the services available to you.

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We understand that your information is important

We pride ourselves in looking after your health and care information.

  • Health and social care services need good patient information, to meet the country's needs and to plan for the future.
  • Medical professionals need access to your records, to give you the best possible care.
  • NHS Choices uses patient information statistics to help you choose hospitals and services that suit you best.
  • We understand that patient information can be sensitive.
  • We understand that you want to be sure that only the right people have access to your patient information.

You can read more about this, including 'What we collect', '', 'Assuring information', 'Information requests from organisations' and 'Your personal information choices'.

If you have any questions about your information, or how we handle it, please email

Your NHS number

  • Everyone registered with the NHS in England and Wales has their own NHS Number.
  • It is the only national unique patient identifier.
  • It is used to help healthcare staff and service providers match you to your health records.
  • It is an important step towards providing you with safer patient care.

Find out how to identify your NHS Number, how to retrieve it if lost and how it is used.

Our other systems and services that you may have experienced

  • 1939 Register Service: request data held on the 1939 Register for England and Wales, as recorded on 29 September 1939.
  • Adoption Registration Service: check certain types of recorded information about adoptees.
  • Electronic Prescription Services (EPS): making it easier for you to get your prescriptions fast.
  • Choose and Book: book, change or cancel an appointment online.
  • Digital scans and X-rays (PACS): allows x-ray and scan images to be stored electronically and viewed on screens, helping to improve diagnosis methods.
  • GP2GP: electronic patient record transfer: enables patients' electronic health records to be transferred directly and securely between GP practices.
  • Information Governance: ensures necessary safeguards for patient and personal information and appropriate use of it.
  • NHS Pathways: triaging telephone calls from the public, based on symptoms, to identify best patient care if an ambulance is not needed.
  • Summary Care Records: an electronic record containing information about your medicines, allergies and any bad reactions, that makes it easier for healthcare staff to treat you in an emergency, or when your GP practice is closed.

Patient feedback

We publish several statistics based on patient feedback, including:

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