This website places cookies on your device to help us improve our service to you. To find out more about the cookies, see our Privacy and Cookies notice
ISD Scotland better information, better decisions, better health

Terminology Services

Products and Services

NHS National Services Scotland ISD Scotland & NHS National Services Scotland


ISD Terminology Services provides support and guidance in the use of clinical classifications, coding and terminology to NHS Scotland and its partners through locally based training, provision of an expertly manned Advisory Service and publication of Scottish Clinical Coding Standards. Terminology Services form part of Data Support and Quality within the Data Management Team.

Why do we need clinical classifications, coding and terminology?

Clinical and health related data are collected on various national patient based datasets by ISD to support a variety of purposes including epidemiology, service planning and performance management. The information is also used to support policy making decisions aimed at improving the health and healthcare of the people of Scotland. To ensure that data is recorded consistently and accurately, to facilitate analyses and to provide meaningful comparisons, nationally agreed clinical coding systems are used. Terminology Services offers advice and support to users of clinical coding and terminology systems in Scotland.

Our Services

Expert Advice

We provide an expert based clinical coding and terminology advisory service for NHS Scotland and other external customers including the Scottish Government, information analysts, clinicians, researchers, clinical coders and systems suppliers. Our advisory service offers coding advice to hospital based clinical coders but we also assist analysts by helping them to select the correct codes for analyses of healthcare data or to help interpret customer needs for healthcare information requests. We also advise on any coding differences between Scotland and other UK countries, answer coding queries and requests from clinicians and advise IT staff on the availability of coding systems.


In addition to advice, Terminology Services offers locally based bespoke training in ICD-10, OPCS-4, Read and SNOMED-CT standards. Our website contains a full list of our courses but please contact us if there are any other aspects of clinical coding training that you would like us to consider supporting. We can provide this training tailored to our customers' needs e.g. clinical coders, clinicians, information analysts, IT staff and administrative staff.

Support Materials

We also publish Scottish Clinical Coding Standards and provide additional supporting material such as our coding leaflet for hospital physicians submitting discharge summaries.

Other Services

We also coordinate new code requests for Clinical Imaging Procedures and SNOMED-CT in Scotland. In addition we provide technical expertise for data quality assurance in other NHS programmes of work and contribute to the maintenance and development of the above mentioned coding systems.

Coding systems supported by Terminology Services include ICD, OPCS, Read, SNOMED-CT and codes for Clinical Imaging Procedures.

For further information please browse our webpages. You can also download a leaflet that summarises our services.

Latest News

August 2017

New Certificate of Technical Competence in Clinical Coding (Scotland)

Terminology Services are pleased to announce the launch of the Certificate of Technical Competence (CTC) in Clinical Coding (Scotland).

Two candidates have already been awarded the CTC after some months of hard work, study and training with support from their supervisors and managers. Congratulations to Ann Combe and Barbara Traynor from Ayrshire and Arran Health Board pictured with coding tutor Liz Williamson and assessor Linda McMillan.

Any clinical coder interested in working towards the CTC should, in the first instance, discuss with their supervisor/manager. We recommend that new starts coming in to Clinical Coding use the framework and supporting documentation to help in the early stages of their induction and training.

Further Information regarding the process, framework and syllabus can be found on our Terminology Services Advice and Support page

July 2016

Please see our new SNOMED CT Resources webpage which provides a centralised resource for links to  online training courses, webinars, special interest groups, documentation and other SNOMED CT related information suitable for clinicians, IT developers, analysts and other informaticians. if you have any other suggestions for additions to this page please contact the Terminology Services Manager.

November 2015

Important - Read Code Announcement

The UK Terminology Centre (which forms part of NHS Digital - formerly the Health and Social Care Information Centre, HSCIC) has announced that it will be retiring Read codes which will be replaced by SNOMED CT terminology (see As such there will be no further updates to Read Version 2 terminology after the April 2016 release. Read V2 (Scottish edition) is the de facto standard currently used in Scottish Primary care systems but it should be noted that it is also the intention of the UK Terminology Centre to phase out Read CTV3 also over a slightly longer period as detailed below. There will be no published release of CTV3 (Read codes version 3) in October 2016.


The final release schedule for Read products is as timetabled below follows:

The final updated release of Read v2 is 1/4/2016
The date of withdrawal of Read v2 is 1/4/2020
The final updated release of Read v3 is 1/4/2018
The date of withdrawal of Read v3 is 1/4/2020
HSCIC are also undertaking developments to enable the withdrawal of Read drugs; both the Read Drug and Appliance Dictionary and CTV3 drugs (these have not been actively maintained since June 2006).

Requesting codes for the final release of Read V2
NHS Scotland customers requiring new Read codes for inclusion in the final update to Read V2 in April 2016 should contact the NSS Terminology helpdesk ( or telephone 0131-275-7283 (Tues-Thurs 9am-5pm) no later than 30 November 2015 for assistance in code request submissions to HSCIC.

Any enquiries in relation to Read codes should be sent to the NSS terminology helpdesk.

Further Information
An assessment on the impact of Read withdrawal has been presented to the eHealth Clinical Change Governance Group (CCLG) and the eHealth Programme Board. Subsequently, a programme of work is to be established to take forward the transition from Read to SNOMED CT and further details will be available in due course.

For further general information on SNOMED CT please see the Terminology Services web pages at: .

Please note that this announcement does not affect the use of classification systems and there are no plans to withdraw the use of ICD-10 or OPCS-4.


© ISD Scotland 2010
Information Services Division,
NHS National Services Scotland,
Gyle Square,
1 South Gyle Crescent,
Edinburgh EH12 9EB,
Tel: 0131 275 7050  
Contact Us

About Information Services Division | Contact Us | Accessibility | Complaints
Copyright | Terms and Conditions | Privacy | Freedom of Information

ISD is a division of NHS NSS
Working at the very heart of the health service, NSS delivers services critical to frontline patient care and in support of the efficient and effective operation of NHS Scotland. Visit the NSS Website for more information