§ Ms Jowell
To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the NHS number system identifying each patient individually will be operational. 
Area Resident population1 Number of Health Centres2 Number of Health Centres per 1,000 population Number of Health Centres per 100,000 population Inner London3 2,009,366 51 0.025 2.54 Greater London4 6,910,828 124 0.018 1.79 Birmingham 1,004,258 28 0.028 2.79 Newcastle 275,217 8 0.029 2.91
§ Mr. Horam
The new national health service number system is being introduced through a phased programme across the NHS.
The NHS central register has created New NHS numbers for the whole population of England and Wales and these have been incorporated into health authority primary care patient registers.
New numbers are now being rolled out into general practitioner practice patient registers. At the end of September, this process had been completed in 65 per cent. of practices. By the end of 1996 full operational use of the new NHS number is scheduled in all breast screening office registers. The comparable date for cervical cytology, call and recall systems, diabetes screening systems and child health registers in mid 1997.
Inclusion of the new NHS number in in-patient contract minimum datasets will be mandatory from 1 April 1997.