If you're receiving support from Adult Social Care then the NHS may share your NHS number with the Council's Adult Social Care service where this is relevant for your direct care as a patient. This is so that the NHS and Adult Social Care are using the same number to identify you whilst providing your care.
By using the same number the NHS and Adult Social Care can work together more closely to improve your care and support and make sure that you receive timely, effective and appropriate care.
Your NHS number
Your NHS number is accessed through an NHS service called the Personal Demographic Service (PDS). Adult Social Care sends basic information such as your name, address and date of birth to the PDS so they can find your NHS number. Once retrieved from the PDS the NHS number is stored on the Council's Adult Social Care system. The NHS number will only be used by health and social care teams in the provision of direct care to ensure consistent and suitable care can be provided.
Joined up information
Health and social care professionals directly involved in care require access to the most up-to-date information about a patient and this is only possible by linking information through the use of the NHS Number. Access to any information about a social care service user or patient is strictly controlled based on the role of the professional and an audit record is kept of all access to this information. For example, social workers will only have access to information that is relevant to them carrying out their care duties.
The use of joined up information across health and social care brings many benefits. One specific example where this will be the case is the discharge of patients into social care. At the moment delays in discharge (sometimes referred to in the media as 'bed blocking') can occur because details of social care involvement are not readily available to the staff on the hospital ward. This can mean that the hospital staff don't know who to contact to discuss the ongoing care of a patient. The linking of social care and health information via the NHS number will help hospital staff quickly identify if social care support is already in place and who the most appropriate contact is. This will mean that ongoing care can be planned earlier in the process because hospital staff will know who to talk to.
The NHS number may also be printed on a subset of printed documentation that is specifically used to communicate between health and social care organisations. This brings the benefit of better co-ordinated and safer care across health and social care through the use of the unique identifier rather than a reliance on name and date of birth to identify a patient.
If you want to object
You have the right to object to the processing of your NHS Number. This will not stop you from receiving care, but may impact on the timeliness about how we are able to support you. To help you decide, we will discuss with you how this may affect our ability to provide you with care, and any other options you have. If you object to the use of your NHS Number please contact our Corporate Information Governance Service.