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Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: When the National Health Service (NHS) began in 1948, national

5 Dec 2001 : Column WA148

registration numbers were used to ensure that each patient's medical record had a unique identifier. National registration stopped with the end of rationing in 1952, but the register continued as the National Health Service Central Register (NHSCR) for England and Wales.

At the point of creation of the NHSCR (1952), national ID card numbers (national registration numbers) were issued as NHS numbers.

New additions to the NHSCR were allocated an NHS number from 1952 onwards. Those with existing national ID cards retained that number.

The computerised National Health Service Central Register, CHRIS (Central Health Record Information System), was created in 1991 by the amalgamation of all health authority (HA) live patient registers which held details of all patients who were registered with NHS GPs in England and Wales at that time. It has been continually updated since then with additions and exits from that baseline.

The new (10-digit) NHS numbers were created in January 1996 by the NHSCR for all entries on CHRIS (including dead persons). They were initially rolled out to health authorities (HAs) for all patients registered with them. HAs then rolled the NHS number out to the respective GP.

Football Grounds: Access for the Disabled

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they will promote improved access to football grounds in Britain in advance of the European Year of the Disabled 2003.[HL1627]

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): The Government are keen to see improved facilities and access available to disabled supporters at football grounds. Significant improvements have been made in recent years.

The Football Task Force report, Facilities for Disabled Supporters, made a number of recommendations to the football authorities on improving customer service arrangements for disabled supporters. The majority of these have been implemented.

The National Association of Disabled Supporters (NADS) has also carried out an audit of the facilities available at football grounds in England. Its report gives a clear indication of the needs of disabled supporters.

I know that the football authorities are working hard with NADS and others to ensure that their grounds are on course for meeting the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act by the statutory deadline of 1 October 2004.

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