National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

National Health Service Central Register (NHSCR)

National Health Service Central Register (NHSCR)

What Information is held on the Register?

The Register is an electronic database of all people born in Scotland and those registered with a GP in Scotland. The information for each patient held on the database is designed to ensure that the right person can be identified and comprises:

  • NHS Number - for babies born in Scotland, the civil registration number of their birth, or a special number given to a patient who was born outside Scotland but who registers with a Scottish doctor;

  • Community Health Index number – another identifier used by the NHS in Scotland; 

  • Unique Citizen Reference Number (UCRN) – A unique, anonymous, number associated with one unique individual.
  • Surname, forenames and any previous names;

  • Mother’s birth surname

  • Sex;

  • Date and place of birth;

  • Postcode and address reference number;

  • Date of enlistment and discharge for Armed Forces personnel;

  • Current and any previous Health Board (or health authority in the rest of the UK) area of GP registration (and equivalent information for Armed Forces personnel and their families);

  • Medical research information for people who are registered as having had cancer, or are part of a medical research project;

  • Date of death or when contact with the patient has been lost.

So the Register holds little information about people’s health – and only for the purpose of medical research, especially reducing the incidence of cancer.