The dm+d is a dictionary of descriptions and codes which represent medicines and devices in use across the NHS.
The dm+d contains a huge variety of information, including:
- whether a product will be reimbursed by the NHSBSA if submitted for reimbursement by a dispensing contractor
- the indicative price of each pack of a product (where a price is maintained by the NHSBSA)
- current and discontinued products and packs available from manufacturers and suppliers
The dm+d browser lets you access and search the data in the dm+d. Enter all or part of the name of a product in the search box and select the component (box) within the data model that you wish to search.
About the dm+d - the NHS medicines standard
It’s delivered through a partnership between NHS Digital and the NHS Business Services Authority.
The dm+d provides:
- the recognised NHS Standard for uniquely identifying medicines and medical devices used in patient care
- clear, consistent recording and communication of information relating to medicines and devices used in patient care
- consistency in how medicines and medical devices are expressed through a robust published Editorial Policy
The Information Standards Board for Health and Social Care (ISB HaSC) has approved the NHS dictionary of medicines and devices (dm+d) as the NHS Standard for communicating medicines information.
The dm+d Standard
The NHS dictionary of medicines and devices (dm+d) Standard (ISB 0052) is an 'Interoperability' Standard. It ensures that diverse clinical systems can effectively 'talk' to each other using a common coded language for the transfer of medicines information. dm+d provides this common language using identifying codes with associated written descriptions.
The scope of the content of the Standard is currently for licensed medicines only. Other content of dm+d, for example, medical devices, are excluded in terms of complying with the Standard but users can use all the content of dm+d if it supports their needs.
How to comply with the Standard
Detailed requirements are available in the ISB 0052 dm+d Specification document.
Where information about medicines used in the care of a NHS patient needs to be transferred electronically from one system to another, those systems must be able to output and receive dm+d codes. The systems must be able to 'translate' the code and display the associated written description.
When to comply with the Standard
Health and care organisations, system suppliers and pharmaceutical companies must comply by 30th June 2017. However, relevant organisations should consider implementing this Standard earlier than this if major updates are made to existing systems or new procurements are undertaken with system suppliers.
Responsibility for the recommendation for approval of information standards has now transferred to the Standardisation Committee for Care Information (SCCI) from ISB. However, ISB approved standards have continued influence through contractual obligations.
We have developed a series of short webinars (each no longer than 5-10minutes) providing information about the NHS Dictionary of Medicines and Devices (dm+d) and the SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension
Webinars are available to view now:
This short 10 minute webinar provides a brief introduction about dm+d, what it is and why we need it.
This is a 10 minute demonstration of the BSA dm+d browser. As well as demonstrating how to use the browser to search for medicines and devices, it also gives you a good insight into the 5 box dm+d model and what additional information is associated with each description
This short 10 minute webinar demonstrates how to locate and download the dm+d and SNOMED CT Extension files from the TRUD server.
This short webinar will give you further insight into the 5 box model and how each box within the model and its associated attributes support various uses such as prescribing, dispensing and recoding of medicines information.
dm+d data model and governance
dm+d has five basic components – these are represented as a box in the dm+d data model diagram.
Each component describes a product at different levels of granularity to support various use cases. This makes up the dm+d model.
A more in depth description of the dm+d data model can be found in the document: NHS dictionary of medicines and devices Data Model (PDF: 750KB)
dm+d governance structures mean that the Programme Board has ultimate responsibility for dm+d.
The Content Committee is responsible for content within dm+d, including maintaining the editorial policy and evaluating and approving any major changes. Clinical and professional representatives can also be called upon to act in an advisory capacity to support the Programme Board and Content Committee.
Introduction to SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension
SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension
The NHS dictionary of medicines and devices (dm+d) was developed as a stand-alone product which could be implemented in systems independent of the strategic clinical terminology solution the NHS was committed to - SNOMED CT® (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms).
However, it was still important that dm+d was integrated with the SNOMED CT solution and the SNOMED CT content and identifiers were therefore used. All unique identifiers used in dm+d are SNOMED CT codes.
Clinical systems that do not need to provide users with access to clinical terms can use dm+d alone to give access to standard codes and terms for medicines and devices.
Feedback indicates that when both dm+d (for recording medicines and devices) and SNOMED CT (for recording clinical terms) are required, for example in a clinical record, it would be easier to use a single terminological structure. NHS Digital has therefore undertaken to deliver the SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension containing components of dm+d in a SNOMED CT format.
Documents giving further information about the SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension are contained in the documentation folder download data. To gain access to the download data please register by completing the form on the TRUD Service website.
The release schedules can be accessed via the TRUD website. If you have any difficulties with the TRUD website please contact the information standards helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SNOMED and SNOMED CT are registered trademarks of the IHTSDO
dm+d release files through TRUD
dm+d is licensed under the Open Government Licence. It’s free to register and download but users must accept license terms and conditions to download the dm+d files from the Technology Reference data Update Distribution (TRUD) website.
This service is hosted by the UK Terminology Centre which is part of NHS Digital, and it provides a mechanism for the UK Terminology Centre to license and distribute reference data to interested parties. Details of release dates can also be found on the TRUD website.
NHSBSA dm+d subpack
Weekly updates of the subpack contain:
- dm+d TRUD release schedule - a description of TRUD release ID, extraction date, distribution date and week number
- dm+d in XML format - this also includes a mapping file between AMPP and GTIN
Each weekly update also includes a PDF file to communicate news to users of dm+d. The communications file summarises changes to the dm+d data and provides advance notice of future changes.
NHSBSA dm+d Supplementary subpack
Weekly updates of the subpack contain:
dm+d description guidance
dm+d description guidance (Word: 264KB) explains how dm+d descriptions might be implemented by system suppliers and programmes.
Individual programme requirements may provide more detailed information.
Primary care implementation guidance
dm+d Implementation Guidance (Primary Care) (PDF: 1MB) explains how dm+d might be implemented in a primary care system to support processes such as the Electronic Prescription Service.
Secondary care implementation guidance
dm+d Implementation Guide (Secondary Care) (PDF: 1.1MB) explains how dm+d might be implemented in hospital-based ePrescribing systems. It contains information about dm+d itself, the data files in which it (and supporting information) is published and a prescribing model which may be used to enable dose-based prescribing.
To implement the approach detailed within the guide, you will also need to refer to a number of files available in the UK Drug Bonus Files and ePrescribing subset files of the latest SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension release. These can be downloaded from TRUD.
Proposals to change values for VMP prescribing status
The dm+d Content Committee sought feedback from users on a proposal to change the values for the VMP prescribing status attribute. A document explaining the proposal is available:
The consultation closed on 14 November 2016. Analysis of the feedback showed that no significant concerns were raised that would impact on its progress. The next steps will be to communicate the proposed workflow with users to ensure smooth implementation and the dm+d Content Committee is mindful of factoring reasonable timescales into this work.
Contact dm+d or raise an issue
Raise an issue
If you have a serious complaint, are dissatisfied with the service or believe there is a major safety issue/risk or something clinically unacceptable then please complete an issues form and email it to email@example.com.
You can view all issues on the dm+d issues log (Excel: 51KB). The log is updated regularly to show progress towards resolving the issue
For help using the NHSBSA’s dm+d browser:
Telephone: 0300 330 1349 or 0191 279 0568
For enquiries about changes to the data and the editorial policy:
For technical queries about the dm+d XML files and TRUD and for enquiries about the SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension: