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Seeking urgent clarity on SNOMED CT requirements

We have been seeking urgent clarification from NHSX, the body responsible for SNOMED implementation, and the Office of the Chief Dental Officer as to the requirements for practices to use SNOMED CT.

Since March, we have been engaging with NHSX, as advised by the Minister Jo Churchill, to resolve the outstanding issues as to how practices would begin using SNOMED. In our meetings, NHSX has been clear that it did not regard it as necessary for dental practices to implement SNOMED from 1 September 2021 and that instead it wished to take the time to work with BDA to develop a subset of dental-specific codes that would be appropriate for use.

It is disappointing that there is conflicting information from the two bodies. We have urged them to issue a clarifying statement and will continue to press for this.

Shawn Charlwood, Chair of the BDA General Dental Practice Committee has said: "It was unexpected that NHS England and the Office of the Chief Dental Officer announced on 31 August that practices were expected to begin using SNOMED from 1 September. We have sought urgent clarification from NHSX, as the NHS body responsible for SNOMED, as to what practices were required to do and we demanded a joint statement from NHSX and the OCDO today to clarify matters. It is disappointing that there have been conflicting views from the two organisations.

"Our objective is to ensure that there is clear information about what implementation would entail and that the process for doing so would not disrupt practices' operation. It is regrettable that, despite our efforts, the various NHS bodies have not provided dentists, their practices, and software suppliers with the clarity needed to implement SNOMED without such disruption. We will continue to press for an urgent statement from NHSX and the OCDO."