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Read Codes

Read Codes are a coded thesaurus of clinical terms. They have been used in the NHS since 1985. There are two versions: version 2 (v2) and version 3 (CTV3 or v3). Both versions provide a standard vocabulary for clinicians to record patient findings and procedures, in health and social care IT systems across primary and secondary care.

Retirement of Read Version 2 and Clinical Terms Version 3

Information Standard Notices 1552 and 1553 confirm the schedule for the retirement of Read v2 and v3 (CTV3) clinical terminologies. The last release of Read v2 was April 2016, with CTV3 due to be retired after the April 2018 release.

There was no October 2016 release of CTV3. The next release will be April 2017.

Organisations should be well underway with their preparations to ensure they can use the  dictionary of medicines and devices (dm+d) for medicines and SNOMED CT for clinical content.

Static files from the April 2016 release of the classifications cross-maps, from Read v2 and CTV3 to ICD-10 and OPCS-4, will continue to be available. SNOMED CT to ICD-10 and OPCS-4 cross maps will continue to be available to users.

SNOMED CT is adopted across primary care and the wider NHS.

Read Codes v2 and v3 April 2016 release

The April 2016 Releases of UK Read codes (v2 and CTV3) and UK Read Browser (English and Scottish) can still be downloaded via TRUD (a website which allows NHS Digital to license and distribute reference data).

Requests for change

Requests for changes or additions to Read v2 can no longer be submitted, as the Read codes are currently in the process of being retired.

Requests for new codes or changes to existing CTV3 content can be made via the Read product menu of the request submission portal. You will need to register the first time you use the portal.

Please note that all terms added to CTV3 are also authored in SNOMED CT, to enable migration. There is no need to request the same term in SNOMED CT.

Retirement of Read Codes Drug and Appliance Dictionary (DAAD)

The Read Codes DAAD was released for the final time on 1 April 2016. All releases have been removed from TRUD and access to the release is now via File Transfer Protocol (FTP) only on request.

Pathology Bounded Code List (PBCL)

The Pathology Bounded Code List (PBCL) is the national pathology test result dataset. It is used within the ISB 1557 EDIFACT Pathology Messaging, for pathology results messages to flow from NHS Labs to GP system suppliers.

Find information about how to request additions and changes.

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