Great quote ... "a hospital might come across 20 different numbers used to identify one patient because not all parts of the NHS will use the single NHS number which is assigned to patients" from a project director in the NHS. The full text of the article is here, it's on VNUnet. The article also talks about the lack of common systems and how poor "national procurement" is, i.e. fragmenting it at a local level is a bad idea. Couldn't agree more.