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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
- 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 management
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.
SNOMED CT UK Edition Release
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.
Licensing of SNOMED CT
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.
All SNOMED CT licensing enquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The transition from using Read codes in primary care to using SNOMED CT is being managed under the national GPSoC framework.
This page explains the value of adopting SNOMED CT in mental health and provides guidance on how to implement it.
Find important publications, education and training materials, blog entries, useful links and much more, on our sharing website Delen.
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.
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).