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Terminology Advice and Support

Terminology Services and Clinical Coding

NHS National Services Scotland ISD Scotland & NHS National Services Scotland

Terminology Advice and Support

Terminology Services offers advice and support in ICD-10, OPCS-4, Read and SNOMED-CT.


We operate a dedicated expertly manned helpdesk to answer queries and offer advice on ICD-10, OPCS-4, Read, national codes for the representation of clinical imaging procedures and SNOMED-CT. You can also book courses or obtain general advice on Terminology through this service.

Helpdesk phone (Tues - Thurs 9-5pm): 0131 275 7283

Helpdesk e-mail (Tues - Thurs 9-5pm):

If your enquiry is urgent please contact the Helpdesk directly on 0131 275 7283 during this time. Please note: enquiries related to Parliamentary Questions should NOT be requested via email and should always be requested directly to an advisor via the telephone helpdesk or to the contacts below if outside normal Helpdesk hours.

If your enquiry is urgent outwith these hours please contact Janice Watson on 0141 282 2271 or Richmond Davies on 0131 275 6195.

Information for customers

ICD/OPCS NHS Scotland coders

Details required when contacting the helpdesk:

  • Your name
  • Hospital/organisation
  • Contact telephone/email
  • Type of query - ICD, OPCS
  • Applicable scheme - e.g. SMR01, SMR02, SMR00 etc.
  • Details of the query: - The discharge summary/notes/letter you are coding from should be available. For procedures, have the operation notes and the diagnosis as well.

Queries are not usually answered straight away as they are crosschecked with previous queries and databases. This takes time so it is often easier to call you back. If it is expected that the query is going to take more than 24 hours to answer, as it has to be passed on to another tutor/clinician, you will be informed as to when to expect an answer.

Please be aware, answers to coding queries are for that particular query and cannot automatically be transferred to other instances, e.g. type of scope used, type of injection, virus etc. as the situation may be different. Please also note that queries from coding sites must relate to actual examples and not to 'what if' scenarios.

If you contact the helpdesk via the email address please provide the information detailed above (no confidential or patient identifiable details should be included). The email inbox is checked daily (Tuesday-Thursday) but if your enquiry is urgent please phone the helpdesk directly.

0131 275 7283, Tue-Thurs 9-5pm, or email.

If your enquiry is urgent during this time please contact the team directly 0131 275 7283. Outwith these times please contact Janice Watson, Terminology Services Manager 0141 282 2271.

The Certificate of Technical Competence (CTC) in Clinical Coding (Scotland)

The Institute of Health Records and Information Management (IHRIM) has a series of ‘Certificates of Technical Competence’ (CTCs), which provide a framework for learning, enabling staff to demonstrate their competence by providing evidence of their knowledge and skills to do their jobs.

National Services Scotland, in collaboration with Health Boards (starting in 2015) have now created a similar award for those involved in clinical coding in NHS Scotland.

The Certificate of Technical Competence (CTC) in Clinical Coding (Scotland) aims to support new staff as they are learning their job, consolidating their knowledge and skills with evidence-based proof recorded in task books.

Staff are mentored locally, provided with training ‘on-the-job’ and in sessions away from their workplace. Working through structured modules, coding staff complete task books, providing examples of their work to pre-defined requirements. This is all held together in a portfolio which is their record of evidence and good practice. On completion of all the work areas and task books, their manager organises an independent assessment of their work.

In addition to being a useful reference, the candidate can use their portfolio during annual reviews and add to it for their personal development plans and other developmental purposes. Please see this information sheetDownload PDF file [43kb] for further details.

Managers wishing to support staff to gain the award should contact their local tutor or the terminology helpdesk in the first instance.

Additions/enhancements to OPCS

Additions or enhancements to the OPCS codes can be requested from HSCIC via their OPCS-4 Requests Portal.

Request for new SNOMED CT code

The Terminology Services co-ordinate requests for new codes for SNOMED-CT in Scotland. These are passed to NHS Digital for consideration. Please complete the request form Download Word file [34kb] and email to the helpdesk.

Clinical Imaging Procedure Code Requests

Terminology Services provide a code request service for new Radiology Information System codes. Please consult the new code request procedure Download PDF file [167kb] and then complete the request form Download Word file [31kb], if appropriate, and email to the helpdesk. The national catalogue is available from the NHS Digital TRUD download site. Should you require further assistance please contact the helpdesk.


To support NHS Scotland staff in using these nationally agreed coding systems our highly experienced clinical coding tutors and terminology advisors can provide a variety of training courses to suit your needs. Other courses can be developed to suit your needs on request. Please contact the helpdesk should you wish further information.

Course title  Aimed at   Duration
Introduction to ICD-10/OPCS-4  Overview only of ICD-10/OPCS-4 e.g. analysts, health board staff  2 days
ICD-10 Foundation Course New coders 5 days
OPCS-4 Foundation Course New coders  3 days
Bespoke refresher training, ICD-10 and OPCS-4 Experienced coders 3 days
Mental Health Foundation course New coders in Mental Health 3 days
Overview of OPCS-4 For coders in non-acute hospitals  1 day
Neoplasms workshop Experienced coders 1 day
Orthopaedics workshop Experienced coders 2 days
Introduction to Read  New Coders in Primary Care 1/2 day
Read in Child Health Coders in Child Health  1/2 day
Introduction to SNOMED-CT Various  1/2 day

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Edinburgh EH12 9EB,
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