Skip to main content
Creating a new NHS England: Health Education England, NHS Digital and NHS England have merged. More about the merger.

UK Medicines Terminology Futures

We are making a series of changes to the two digital terminologies used in health and care to improve efficiency and patient safety.

Two digital terminologies are used to describe medicines in clinical healthcare IT systems; the NHS Dictionary of Medicines and Devices (dm+d) and SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension.

There are some differences in the content of these terminologies and the timing of updates to them. This means that data sent between primary and secondary care can not always be processed by the IT systems that receive it. This can lead to transcription and/or clinical errors for patients.

What we’re doing 

Digital Medicines is making changes to help ensure that information about patient medications, allergies, intolerances and prescriptions can be shared seamlessly between clinical IT systems.

To support this, several changes are being made to dm+d and SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension during 2023 to make these two terminologies more closely aligned in terms of content and availability.

This will:

  • improve safety and efficiency
  • reduce transcription and clinical errors
  • allow staff to focus even more on care
  • provide patients with a better experience

Who’s involved

This is a joint project between NHS Digital, NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) and subject matter experts in dm+d and SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension teams. 

A steering group overseeing the project is made up of representatives from:

  • Department of Health and Social Care
  • NHS England
  • NHS Digital
  • NHS trusts
  • integrated care boards
  • Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
  • NHS Wales
  • NHS Scotland
  • Health and Social Care Northern Ireland

Engagement has taken place with pharmacy suppliers, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), Electronic Prescription Service (EPS), trusts, users of pharmacy terminology products and other subject matter experts to agree the delivery approach and to ensure minimum impact on end users, suppliers and users of pharmacy terminology products.



Detailed explanation of the individual changes happening to dm+d and SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension. The MS PowerPoint slides from this event are available on request from [email protected].

Trust webinar

Supplies an overview of the changes to dm+d impacting users of pharmacy informatics. The webinar explains what the changes are, why they are being done, what the impacts are for users of dm+d and when the changes will take place. (Duration 23 minutes)

Need help?

If you have any queries around the dm+d and SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension changes that are taking place in 2023, please contact [email protected].

Last edited: 6 April 2023 11:46 am