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NHI Number Format Changes
About NHI numbers
The National Health Index (NHI) number is a unique identifier assigned to everyone who uses health and disability support services in New Zealand.
A person’s NHI number is stored on the National Health Index along with that person’s demographic details. The NHI and associated NHI numbers are used to help with the planning, coordination and provision of health and disability support services across New Zealand.
The NHI is associated with the Medical Warnings System, and is designed to warn health care providers of any known risk factors that may be important when making clinical decisions about individual patient care.
NHI numbers have been issued since 1992
NHI numbers have been allocated to new born babies since 1992 and are the cornerstone of health information in New Zealand. Before this date it was not a mandatory process to allocate a patient with a NHI number.
Who is entitled to an NHI
An National Health Index (NHI) number is assigned to everyone who uses health and disability support services in New Zealand.
Overseas visitor patients will be registered as a non-resident until documentation is sighted to prove the patient’s residency status. The patient’s health provider can contact Sector Operations on 0800 855 066 – option 1 and we will update the NHI information.
Patients with work permits
Patients who hold a current visitors permit, work permit or a student permit are entitled for an NHI number. Depending on the term the permit is valid for determines whether the patient is eligible for publicly funded health and disability services.
Non-residents of New Zealand
A patient does not need to be a New Zealand resident to be entitled to an NHI number. The patient will be registered as a non-resident until documentation is sited to prove the patients residency status.
The patient's health provider can contact Sector Operations on 0800 855 066 – option 1 and we will update the NHI information.
A foreign diplomat is entitled to an NHI number. However, under the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations 1961, neither diplomatic staff nor their families are able to receive publicly funded health and disability services, or medical benefits while posted in New Zealand.
Information required to register a patient for an NHI number
Sector Operations requires the following information before registering a patient for a NHI number.
- Family name
- First name
- Date of birth
- Residency status
- The ethnicity the patient identifies with
The difference between a resident and a citizen
Immigration New Zealand has information on both NZ Residency and NZ Citizenship.
You must sight proof of residency
Sighting proof of residency is part of the NHI registration process. The residency status of a patient is recorded against the NHI information and indicates whether a patient is entitled to any publicly funded health and disability services. We will not update a patients’ residency status until the documentation has been sighted.
You must sight proof of date of birth
Sighting proof of date of birth is required to ensure we have the most up to date and correct information for your patient. This way the patient information is correctly identified as belonging to that patient only.
Name change information
Sighting proof of name change is required to ensure we have the most up to date and correct information for your patient. This way the patient information is correctly identified as belonging to that patient only.
One NHI number per patient
A patient should not have two NHI numbers. An NHI number should be a unique identifier to each patient and their information.
If your patient has multiple NHI numbers contact Sector Operations on 0800 855 066 – option 1 and we will investigate the numbers and request a merge of any duplicate information.
Eligibility for publicly funded health and disability services
Any patient is entitled to an NHI number if they have received medical treatment while in New Zealand. Having an NHI number does not mean your patient is automatically eligible for publicly funded health and disability services.
For more information, go to Eligibility.
Information required to search for an NHI number
Sector Operations requires the following information.
- Family name
- First name
- Date of birth.
You may also be asked to supply an address or middle name for your patient if we have more than one match. We request this to make sure we are giving you the correct NHI number for your patient.
Contact Sector Operations
Call the Sector Operations Contact Centre to find out more:
0800 855 066 – option 1 – Identity
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 8am – 5pm
Wednesday: 9.30am – 5pm