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SNOMED CT is the information standard for clinical terminology; it is an international standard published by SNOMED International providing a global common language for health terms.

About this information standard

The policy document, Personalised Health and Care 2020: A Framework for Action, published by the National Information Board (NIB) in November 2014, identified SNOMED CT as the required terminology to support direct management of care.

SNOMED CT was first published as an information standard by the Information Standards Board (ISB) in August 2011, the original documents remain on the ISB website.

This latest release seeks to ensure that its implementation is planned to coincide with national requirements in relation to electronic records. There are three elements to the change:

  1. Confirmation of the timescales for the cessation of SNOMED CT releases in Release Format 1 (RF1) and the subsequent move to releases only being provided in Release Format 2 (RF2). All existing users (including any social care providers) will need to change to RF2.
  2. Conversion of the current information standard to align with the requirements of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This includes the provision of Implementation Guidance.
  3. Confirmation of application of this standard in specified operational settings including implementation dates in alignment with national policy.

This information standard is published under section 250 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. An Information Standards Notice (see below) provides an overview of scope and implementation timescales and the other listed documents provide further detail for those who have to implement the information standard.

Update 18 January 2018: SNOMED International update regarding LOINC (from the SNOMED International Business Meeting, 19-20 October 2017, Bratislava)

In October 2017, SNOMED International ratified the UK requirement for developing content in specific areas of pathology and laboratory medicine and ratified the application of clause 5.2 of the IHTSDO-Regenstrief collaboration agreement (2013). This development reinforces the Department of Health and Social Care mandate for the implementation and use of SNOMED CT as the clinical terminology for use in health and care clinical systems across the NHS. It means that SNOMED CT can be used in all areas of pathology, including laboratory sciences and other diagnostics; thereby removing the need for NHS Organisations and their suppliers to use LOINC.

The Data Coordination Board is pleased to endorse this approach, recognising the benefit of supporting the consistent development of SNOMED CT content across all areas of pathology and diagnostics.

If you have any queries about this, please contact NHS Digital at


Update 2 August 2017:

Note that since publication of Amd 35/2016 an addendum has been published to clarify the expectations placed on system suppliers in relation to the implementation of SNOMED CT. This addendum, available below, makes no changes to the published information standard.


Release date 02/11/2016
Release number Amd 35/2016
Stage Implementation
Key documents
Supporting documents
Further information

NHS Digital SNOMED CT web pages

Advance Notification

An Advance Notification for SCCI0034 Amd 35/2016 was published on 12 May 2016. This is now out-of-date, following the publication of the Information Standards Notice, but is included here for historic reference only:

Last edited: 2 November 2018 12:26 pm