National Health Service Central Register

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This article is about NHS Scotland's patient identification system. For the health index for online communities, see Community Health Index.

The National Health Service Central Register (NHSCR) a Scottish government database, accessible only to public bodies approved by the Scottish Parliament. The main purpose when it was established in the early 1950s was originally to facilitate the transfer of patients between Health Board areas or across borders within the countries of the United Kingdom, however its role has expanded over the decades, for example it provides Scottish local authorities with a unique reference number used to identify people on their own databases.

A major expansion of the application of the NHSCR is being planned by the Scottish Government and the National Records of Scotland by changing regulations created under the Local Electoral Administration and Registration Services (Scotland) Act 2006. This expansion has been criticised as being a backdoor method of establishing a national identity system for the country.[1]

Community Health Index[edit]

The Community Health Index is a register of all patients in NHS Scotland, Scotland's publicly funded healthcare system. The register exists to ensure that patients can be correctly identified, and that all information pertaining to a patient's health is available to providers of care.[2]

Patients are identified using a ten-digit number known as the CHI Number.[3] This number is normally formed using the patient's date of birth (as DDMMYY), followed by four digits: two digits randomly generated, the third digit identifying gender at birth (odd for men, even for women) and a check digit.[4] As of November 2009, uptake of this number varied across Scotland from 96.0% to 99.8%.[5]


The CHI number is included in electronic medical referencing systems, such as AMS (Acute Medicine Service), CMS (Chronic Medicine Service) and eMAS (Electronic Minor Ailment Scheme). All of these connect to Scotland's ePharmacy which contains details of all medical patients for Scotland.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Say no to a Scottish national ID system". Open Rights Group. 
  2. ^ "The use of the CHI (Community Health Index) across the NHS in Scotland". Scottish Government. 5 June 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "What is the Community Health Index (CHI)?". Scottish Health Service Centre. 19 October 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "Health and Social Care Data Dictionary: Community Health Index (CHI) Number". ISD Scotland. 12 May 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "Scotland Performs". Scottish Government. 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-15. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]