Today NHS England launched a survey on the uptake and use of the NHS Number as the primary patient identifier aimed at Trusts across all services. The survey – the first of its kind – will enable NHS England to create a comprehensive picture by Trusts across England of use of the NHS Number in direct care. The NHS Standard Contract for 2014-15 states that “the provider must use the NHS Number as the primary identifier in all clinical correspondence” and is a key criterion for applications to the Integrated Digital Care Fund.
NHS England has asked Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in acute, ambulance, community and mental health Trusts to complete the survey by 31 July 2014 and plans to have a complete report on progress by September 2014. The findings of the survey will be the catalyst for targeted support aimed at local level to facilitate the widespread adoption of the NHS Number. The survey is vital to understanding where that support is most needed. The central programme team, regional leads and CCGs will work closely with Trusts to support CIOs to meet their contractual obligation and to track progress across their organisations over the coming months.
“We want to help all Trusts in England, and the populations they serve, to reap the benefits of integrated and safer care as quickly as possible and the use of NHS Number as the primary patient identifier is fundamental in enabling this” said Beverley Bryant, Director of Strategic Systems and Technology. Support in driving the use of NHS Number will be a cross-organisation initiative led through our central programme team but working hand in glove with regional leads, the CCGs and, of course, the Trusts themselves.”
Further information about the NHS Number for NHS staff and patients and the public, can be found at the NHS Number page on the HSCIC website.