National Health Service Central Register (Scotland)

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The National Health Service Central Register (NHSCR) is a Scottish Government database accessible to public bodies approved by the Scottish Parliament. The register was established in the early 1950s 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 and it now also provides Scottish local authorities with a unique reference number used to identify people on their own databases.[1]

In 2006, the Scottish Government and the National Records of Scotland made a major expansion of the applications of the NHSCR by changing regulations with section 57 of the Local Electoral Administration and Registration Services (Scotland) Act 2006.[1] In 2015, the Scottish Government proposed expanding access to the NHSCR to more than 100 additional public bodies.[2] This expansion has been criticised by the Open Rights Group, who believe it may breach data protection rules and human rights and resembles a national identity system.[3]

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.[4]

Patients are identified using a ten-digit number known as the CHI Number,[5] pronounced /ˈkaɪ/.[6] 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.[7] As of March 2010, uptake of this number (based on radiology requests) varied across Scotland from 96.5% to 99.9% depending on the local NHS Board.[8]


The CHI number is included in electronic medical referencing systems, such as AMS (Acute Medicine Service), CMS (Chronic Medicine Service) and MAS (Minor Ailment Scheme).[9] All of these connect to Scotland's ePharmacy which contains details of all medical patients for Scotland.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b (2015) National Health Service Central Register National Records for Scotland, Retrieved 10 March 2015
  2. ^ "MSPs debate 'super ID database' plans". BBC News. 4 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Privacy campaigners may mount legal challenge against 'super ID database'". Scottish Legal News. 10 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "The use of the CHI (Community Health Index) across the NHS in Scotland" (PDF). Scottish Government. 5 June 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "What is the Community Health Index (CHI)?" (PDF). Scottish Health Service Centre. 19 October 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  6. ^ "FAQs on CHI". eHealth NHS Scotland. 30 April 2010. Retrieved 2 July 2015. 
  7. ^ "Health and Social Care Data Dictionary: Community Health Index (CHI) Number". ISD Scotland. 12 May 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "Scotland Performs". Scottish Government. 2010. Retrieved 2015-03-10. 
  9. ^ ePharmacy NHS Services Scotland, Practitioner Services, Retrieved 10 March 2015
  10. ^ The Scottish Government, (January 2008) ePharmacy Toolkit for Community Pharmacists NHS Scotland, ISBN 9780755956494, Retrieved 10 March 2015

External links[edit]