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Getting started with NHS login: the patient journey

This guide for health and care staff will help you to help patients access health and social care services that use NHS login. Watch our instructional video or read our step by step guidance.

NHS login and Microtest

NHS login works differently in services that connect to the GP medical record, for patients at practices that use the Microtest clinical system. View specific guidance for Microtest practices.



Patients can create an NHS login from any health and care website or app where they see the NHS login button.

NHS login button image

A patient only needs to prove who they are once to access multiple services through NHS login.

When they click the button, the patient will be asked to:

  • give their email address
  • choose a password
  • accept the NHS login terms and conditions

They will then receive an email containing a link. They must click this link to confirm their email address. They will then see a page telling them they now have an NHS login.

The patient will need to return to the website or app they want to access and enter their NHS login email address and password. They will now be asked to give their mobile phone number. A six-digit security code will be sent by text message to their mobile phone. They will be prompted to enter this code and to press continue.

Next, the patient needs to confirm their identity so they can have secure access to their health information.

They can use the registration details from their GP practice’s online services or submit photo ID and a short video.

Using registration details for GP practice’s online services

When a patient signs up to use their practice’s online services, they will be given three registration details:

  • a Linkage Key (which could be called a Passphrase)
  • an ODS Code (which could be called an Organisation Code or Practice ID)
  • an Account ID

If the patient uses this information to prove who they are in NHS login, it is automatically checked with the GP practice’s IT system, along with the patient’s name and date of birth. During this process, the patient’s NHS number and health information is matched with their NHS login.

Using photo ID and video to register

The patient will be asked to:

  • take a photo of their ID and submit it
  • record a short video of their face as they say 4 randomly generated numbers
  • enter their date of birth
  • enter their NHS number if they know it
  • if they don't know it, enter their name and the postcode of their home address as registered with their practice

The accepted types of photo ID are:

  • passport
  • UK driving licence, either full or provisional
  • a full European driving licence
  • European national identity card

They are given instructions and a chance to check their information, before they submit it.

Following submission, the patient’s identity will be carefully checked and should be verified within two hours. If they submit between 9 pm and 9 am it may take longer. The patient will be emailed to let them know if the ID check has been successful.

Once they have completed these steps, the patient will be able to use their NHS login to access their chosen websites and apps, wherever they see the NHS login button.

The patient can continue using their email address, password and the security code sent to their mobile phone for authentication. They can also choose to be 'remembered' on their device, the first time they log into a website or app after setting up their NHS login. This means they can log in using their username and password, without the need to enter a security code. NHS App users may also have the option to authenticate with biometric data, using fingerprint or facial recognition.

If you work at a GP practice, patients may need your help with NHS login. See GP practice NHS login guidance for step-by-step guidance on how to provide GP Online registration details to patients, in your clinical system.

Last edited: 21 January 2020 8:36 am