Skip to main content


SNOMED CT is a structured clinical vocabulary for use in an electronic health record. It is the most comprehensive and precise clinical health terminology product in the world.

SNOMED CT forms an integral part of the electronic care record. It represents care information in a clear, consistent, and comprehensive manner.

The requirement for a single terminology, SNOMED CT, across the NHS in relation to the direct management of an individual’s care is the focus of the Information Standards Notice with required implementation dates

The benefits of using SNOMED CT in electronic care records are:

  • vital information can be shared consistently within and across health and care settings
  • comprehensive coverage and greater depth of details and content for all clinical specialities and professionals
  • it includes diagnosis and procedures, symptoms, family history, allergies, assessment tools, observations, devices
  • clinical decision making is supported
  • it facilitates analysis to support more extensive clinical audit and research
  • reduced risk of misinterpretations of the record in different care settings

In England:

  • SNOMED CT must be implemented across primary care and will be deployed to GP practices in a phased approach from April 2018. Systems used by GP service providers must adopt SNOMED CT. SNOMED CT must be used in place of Read Codes
  • secondary care, acute care, mental health, community systems, dentistry and other systems used in direct patient care must use SNOMED CT as the clinical terminology, before 1 April 2020

SNOMED CT is owned, managed and licensed by SNOMED International.

NHS Digital is the UK Member's National Release Centre for the creation of, and delegated authority to licence the SNOMED CT  Edition and derivatives.

SNOMED CT is maintained and distributed in the United Kingdom by NHS Digital. External governance is provided by the UK Strategy Board, which includes representation from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

NHS Digital provides the release files, subsets, mappings and related documents for those using SNOMED CT UK Edition within their systems. These are available in different packs to help you identify the sets of files required. These can be downloaded via TRUD (a website which allows NHS Digital to license and distribute reference data).

Registering for pack download and SNOMED CT licence

The use of SNOMED CT is free within the UK. You will need to register for the download service, subscribe for each pack you need and agree to the terms of the associated licences.

SNOMED CT products

Further details about the SNOMED CT UK Edition and the SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension are on the  SNOMED CT section on Delen

SNOMED CT UK Derivative Products

We also provide packs on TRUD containing data files that support SNOMED CT implementations. These are usually subsets of the main release or files that provide added value, such as mapping tables.

Please see the SNOMED CT section on Delen for details of:

  • UK Clinical Edition, RF1 Cross-maps
  • NHS Data Migration
  • SNOMED Antecedent Versions Data Migration

Further details about Clinical Imaging Procedures, SNOMED CT Subsets and SNOMED CT browsers can be found on the SNOMED CT section on Delen.

The UK is a SNOMED International member country. Use of SNOMED CT in the UK is free, however the use of SNOMED CT does require a licence.

Licensing enquiries

All SNOMED CT licensing enquiries can be sent to

SNOMED® and SNOMED CT® are registered trademarks of SNOMED International. SNOMED CT® was originally created by the College of American Pathologists.

Further information

  1. external

    SNOMED CT resources

    Find important publications, education and training materials, blog entries, useful links and much more, on our sharing website Delen.

  2. external

    NHS Digital SNOMED CT Browser

    This online browser is now our preferred SNOMED CT Browser for the NHS to use. It contains the SNOMED CT International release, the UK Clinical Extensions and the UK Drug Extension.

  3. external

    SNOMED CT requests for change

    Use the requests submission portal to request changes to SNOMED CT in the UK and separately Scotland, UK Drug Extension or Dictionary of Medicines and Devices (dm+d).

Last edited: 21 September 2020 3:17 pm