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Terminology Server - FHIR APIs

Retrieve terminologies and classifications from the NHS England Terminology Server, such as SNOMED-CT or ICD-10.


Use these APIs to retrieve content from the NHS England Terminology Server, including:

  • international terminologies and classifications - such as SNOMED-CT and ICD-10
  • national terminologies - such as NHS Data Model and Dictionary codes

You can:

  • directly query the terminology server in real time, using a number of FHIR APIs, as defined by the HL7 FHIR-compliant terminology module standard
  • access a syndicated feed of terminology and classifications content in a machine-readable format, via an API
  • syndicate content across a group of terminology servers
  • share your own terminologies with others

Some content in the Terminology Server is freely available for read access, such as Data Dictionary. Other content is subject to access controls appropriate to the license, such as SNOMED-CT.

To see what terminologies and classifications you can retrieve, see content in the NHS England Terminology Server.

As well as these APIs, there are a number of end user terminology browsing tools available.

For more information, see terminology servers.

For a non-technical overview of how to build software that deals with clinical coding, classifications and terminology, see Building healthcare software - clinical coding, classifications and terminology.

Who can use these APIs

The terminology server is intended for use by:

  • providers of health and care services

  • commissioners of health and care services

  • population health managers

  • suppliers in the health and care market

  • researchers and analysts

For more details, see how it can be used.

API statuses

These APIs are in production.

Service level

These APIs make up a platinum service, meaning it is operational and supported 24 x 7 x 365.

For more details, see service levels

For service status, see service navigation and status.  


This API is RESTful.

It conforms to the FHIR global standard for health care data exchange, specifically to FHIR R4 (v4.0.1), except that it does not support the capabilities interaction.

Network access

These APIs are available on the internet and, indirectly, on the Health and Social Care Network (HSCN).

For more details, see Network access for APIs.

Security and authorisation

Individual users can access content on the Terminology Server with a registered account (authenticated) or without a registered account (non-authenticated).

You can find guidance on registering an account as an individual in our account management guide.

To access the terminology server from a software application or to syndicate content to your own terminology server (rather than access via a browser) you need a system-to-system account.

Environments and testing

There are several environments that make up the terminology server.

Environment Base URL Purpose
Authoring server Content creation
Staging server Contact us Content release
Analytic production server General analytical use
Clinical production server Dedicated clinical use

For more details, see terminology server environments.


You can find an extensive library of example API queries, based on the content contained in the terminology server, in our GitHub repository.

Last edited: 3 April 2023 9:55 am