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Dictionary of medicines and devices (dm+d)

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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 us, if submitted for reimbursement by a dispensing contractor
  • the indicative price of each pack of a product (where a price is maintained by us)
  • current and discontinued products and packs available from manufacturers and suppliers

dm+d browser

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. 

Go to the dm+d browser

About the dm+d - the NHS medicines standard

The dm+d is maintained by ourselves with support from NHS Digital.

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 Standardisation Committee for Care Information (SCCI) 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 (SCCI0052) is an 'Interoperability' standard.

This makes sure that diverse clinical systems can effectively 'talk' to each other using a common coded language for the transfer of medicines information.

The 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, medical devices for example, 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 SCCI0052 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

Trusts must implement NHS standards in accordance with the NHS Standard Contract and the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

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 approval of information standards passed from the Information Standards Board for Health and Social Care (ISB) to the Standardisation Committee for Care Information (SCCI). The dm+d Standard has been uplifted to a SCCI approved standard accordingly. SCCI has been replaced by the Data Coordination Board (DCB).

dm+d webinars

We have developed a series of short webinars that last no longer than 5 to 10 minutes each, providing information about the NHS dm+d and the SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension.

Webinars are available to view now:

1) Introduction to dm+d.

This short 10 minute webinar provides a brief introduction about dm+d, what it is and why we need it.

2) dm+d browser demonstration

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

3) Downloading dm+d and SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension files from the TRUD server

This short 10 minute webinar demonstrates how to locate and download the dm+d and SNOMED CT Extension files from the TRUD server.   

4) dm+d 5 box model unravelled.

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.

Prescriptions - dmd_data_model_(2)

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.

Key documents

The SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension Editorial Policy (PDF: 589KB)  The SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension Model v1.0 (PDF: 726KB)

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 information.standards@nhs.net

SNOMED and SNOMED CT are registered trademarks of the SNOMED International

dm+d release files through TRUD

The dm+d and its supporting files and information are released through TRUD (Technology Reference data Update Distribution). TRUD is hosted by NHS Digital and provides the distribution and licensing mechanism for NHS terminologies (including dm+d). Release dates and other communications can be found on the TRUD site.

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 (EPS).

 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 supplementary XML files - the NHS Business Services Authority maintains a list of ATC classifications and pseudo-BNF codes (PDF: 264KB) linked to products prescribed in Primary Care. They are not an officially endorsed dm+d product.

Implementation  guidance

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.

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 nhsbsa.dmdenquiries@nhs.net.

dm+d issues form (PDF: 176KB)dm+d issues form (Word: 62KB)

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

View the process for managing enquiries and issues (PDF: 103KB).

Contact us

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:

Email: nhsbsa.dmdenquiries@nhs.net.

For technical queries about the dm+d XML files and TRUD and for enquiries about the SNOMED CT UK Drug Extension:

Email: information.standards@nhs.net