A public awareness campaign will not be used to promote the NHS number programme, the Department of Health has said.

The DH and NHS Connecting for Health have both announced they would not be using a campaign to promote the programme, despite receiving a number of queries from local organisations.

The programme is designed to raise awareness of the benefits of knowing your NHS number, which is the only unique patient identifier.

Instead of a national campaign, the NHS number programme has laid out advice on how organisations can raise awareness of the number.

The advice is part of a pilot scheme at Stockton-on-Tees teaching primary care trust, which looked at ways of informing patients about their NHS number.

Organisers behind the programme are calling for health authorities and PCTs to launch public awareness campaigns on a regional or local level, including sending patients a letter with their NHS number on it or giving patients an individual NHS number card.

Michelle Burkey, project manager at NHS North East Essex, said: “While patients do not need to know their NHS number to receive NHS care, knowing and showing it can help those treating them.”