Personal demographic service and NHS numbers

If you are receiving support from adult social care then the NHS may share your NHS number with us. This is so that we are using the same number as the NHS 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.

Your NHS number is accessed through an NHS service called the personal demographic service (PDS), the data is collected from records held by Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust. Adult social care sends basic information such as your name, address and date of birth to the PDS in order to find your NHS number. Once retrieved from the PDS the NHS number is stored in our adult social care case management system and retained in the adult social care system in line with our record retention policies. These policies are in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, government record retention regulations and best practice.

The NHS number is then used, as the unique identifier to allow Social Care information to be displayed in the Council’s adult social care case management system, for the provision of direct care.

We will share information only to provide health and social care professionals directly involved in your care access, this could be your GP, acute and community hospitals or community services such as a community nursing and community mental health teams. It will do this by sharing appropriate information between health and social care services when we are working with you. Access to information is strictly controlled, based on the role of the professional. For example, social workers will only have access to information that is relevant to the execution of their care duties.

Our IT security and confidentiality policies ensure that your information is protected, and available only to staff directly involved in your care.

You do have the right to object to the processing of your NHS number in this way. This will not stop you from receiving care, 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 wish to opt-out from the use of your NHS number for social care purposes, please talk with your social worker or email

Page last updated: 21 May 2019
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