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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/our-work/adoption/facilitating-an-adoption-placement/national-health-index/
Printed: 01/12/2020
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Last updated: 11/09/2020

National Health Index

We remind the birthparents or interim caregivers of the newborn tamaiti to pass on their Well Child book and their National Health Index number to the adoptive applicants at placement.

Assigning an NHI number

The National Health Index (NHI) number is a unique identifier that is assigned to everyone at birth for health and disability support services in New Zealand.

We need to discuss how the NHI process will be handled. The lead maternity carer (usually the midwife) or the maternity service provider arranges to enter the details of the birthmother and te tamaiti into the Ministry of Health’s NHI database and an NHI number is assigned to te tamaiti. The database includes a person’s:

  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • gender
  • New Zealand resident status
  • ethnicity
  • if appropriate, flags indicating any medical warnings.

Remind the birthmother that if she does not want to receive correspondence generated by the NHI she can give her mailing address as c/o the social worker.

National Health Index – Ministry of Health website

Keeping the NHI number with te tamaiti

The midwife adds the NHI number of te tamaiti into the Well Child Tamariki Ora book which is a record of the early progress of te tamaiti and goes with te tamaiti. We should remind the birthmother or interim caregiver to pass this on to the adoptive parents at placement.

It’s important that the adoptive parents know the NHI number of te tamaiti to ensure continuity of their medical records and to initiate immunisation through their doctor.

Once the adoption order is granted, the adoptive parents’ doctor can have the new legal name of te tamaiti added to the NHI database. The original birth names are not deleted from the database.

It's important to avoid having 2 NHI numbers assigned to an adopted tamaiti — this can happen when their original birth details are registered on the NHI and then a second NHI number is assigned to them under their adoptive name. Having 1 NHI number makes sure any health record that exists under the birth name of te tamaiti is linked with their subsequent adoptive name.

Registering the birth of te tamaiti