IT and Data Management

SNOMED: How to code cases of COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Professional Record Standards Body (PRSB) has published guidance for health and care professionals in collaboration with NHS Digital.

This includes clinical guidance on how to code cases of COVID-19, to help GP practices and other NHS organisations manage clinical information to support patient care.

The guidance will ‘support central data collections to help manage the pandemic and aid research and planning’.

NHS Digital has compiled and released a new list of Covid-19-related UK SNOMED CT codes. This release is most relevant to primary care but the new codes are being communicated to all system vendors to update their systems.

The PRSB has also produced a set of FAQs about use of COVID-19 SNOMED CT codes.

The guidance notes: ‘We know that information needs will change during the pandemic and guidance will need to evolve to meet your needs. We will keep you informed of important updates over the days and weeks to come.’

The Covid-19 SNOMED CT codes comprise the following groups:

  • Risk category
  • Isolating/shielding advice
  • Encounter and advice
  • Exposure
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Swabbing
  • Tests and test results
  • Clinical and test result interpretations/disease labels
  • Severity assessment
  • Complications
  • Vaccination

The full list of codes is available on the NHS Digital website  and the attached spreadsheet showing the SNOMED-CT codes in groups with notes and working definitions to help understand how they should be used.

The PRSB is working with NHS Digital and the Faculty of Clinical Informatics to produce a short list of five or six codes that clinicians will find most useful for recording Covid-19 related information at this stage in the pandemic.

They are being mapped to terms and local system codes currently provided by system suppliers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The PRSB says this updated guidance will be provided shortly.

These new Covid-19 codes should be used by the following clinicians, although this is not an exhaustive list:


Primary care nurses

Other community-based clinicians using primary care or community systems


Community-based mental health clinicians

System suppliers will be updating their systems now and will be rolling out Covid-19 related SNOMED CT codes urgently. Please check with your system supplier about when the new codes will be available locally.

Source: The Professional Record Standards Body. Clinical guidance on COVID-19 SNOMED codes [Published 1 April]

Guide URL:
XYou have free access remaining to read.

You have reached your limit of free access to articles.

Please login to access all guides.

Or, please register for a free trial to access all of the guides and unlock all features.