UK Terminology Centre (UKTC) proposal to take the National Interim Clinical Imaging Procedure to OPCS-4 Mapping Table from ‘technical preview’ status to ‘draft for trial use’ status

Closed 17 Mar 2014

Opened 17 Feb 2014


This consultation is now closed. Please see the Results section at the bottom of this page.

The National Interim Clinical Imaging Procedure Code Set has been published by the UKTC since 2007 and was approved by the Information Standards Board (ISB) for Health and Social Care as an NHS information standard in December 2009. The ISB scope of approval for use of the standard was “to provide a standard terminology for describing clinical imaging procedures to facilitate identification of images undertaken in an imaging examination, and for the communication of clinical information associated with the identified procedures such as imaging service requests, patient imaging reports, statistical measures of activity and to assist workflow aspects of the business of imaging departments such as resource scheduling.” (DSCN 27/2009) 

It was apparent that an extension to this operational code set might assist with the standardised and nationally consistent collection of activity data and other secondary uses information such as that required for the KH12 radiation monitoring return and the data required for Payment by Results (PbR).

The Clinical Imaging Management Group (CIMG), the editorial authority behind the National Interim Clinical Imaging Procedure Code Set, recommended the development of a simple mapping table to support the derivation of consistent Healthcare Resource Group (HRG) assignment for patient activity undertaken in clinical imaging to support consistent national standardised reporting.

The NICIP codes (or their SNOMED CT equivalent concepts) are used throughout the NHS in all clinical imaging departments in England and, by virtue of their close alignment with SNOMED CT, have an assigned mapping to OPCS-4.

Before the development of the mapping table, evidence from a sample of trusts in the North West of England found significant variation between trusts in the local mapping of imaging procedures to OPCS-4 codes and HRGs. Faced with this evidence, the CIMG requested that the UKTC develop a standard mapping table to make the process less subjective.

Since October 2009, this table has been distributed alongside the ISB-approved formal releases - every six months - as a test product, with a covering note asking for feedback. Responses from subscribers to the product set have identified a range of issues, prompting amendments to the table. However, other fundamental issues require resolution before the table can be considered to be fully quality assured and ready for formal approval.

More recently the Department of Health has developed guidance for PbR which ‘requires’ trusts to use this table to assign OPCS-4 codes in order to assign HRGs.

However, some of the aforementioned issues with the design and content of the table remain unresolved.

It has, therefore, become necessary to determine whether this product should be adjusted and confirmed as fit for purpose for Payment by Results guidance or whether the product should actually be withdrawn.

The intention is to conduct a survey to assess where this table is being used currently, how effective and useful it is and whether any additional enhancements are required.

The UKTC maintains a Product Development Lifecycle Policy which clearly explains how new and existing products are managed through their entire development from inception to retirement. The policy describes the approach and underpinning processes that allow products to be introduced and/or retired responsibly so that expectations can be set realistically and product statuses are clearly understood. The status values are:

  • In Development
  • Technology Preview
  • Draft for Trial Use
  • Supported Product
  • Legacy Product

Decisions to progress a product from one status to another will be the responsibility of the relevant editorial or governance authority which will require sufficient evidence of utility and demand in the stakeholder community, hence this consultation

Why your views matter

The UK Terminology Centre (UKTC) of the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) is consulting stakeholders to determine whether, how extensively and how successfully the National Interim Clinical Imaging Procedures (NICIP) to OPCS-4 mapping table is being used; for example in the production of data to inform the Payment by Results data in the field of Clinical Imaging, or for any other purpose. We also wish to identify any desirable changes that could improve its utility.

This consultation is directed at all those involved in generating the imaging element of PbR returns in healthcare institutions in the UK. Invitations to respond to the consultation will be targeted at all those subscribers to the NICIP Code Set registered on the HSCIC terminology distribution portal. We will also contact professional organisations and other stakeholders via other appropriate UKTC distribution lists.

This consultation is only focussed on the use of the NICIP to OPCS-4 mapping table and its use to support PbR processes. It is intended to inform the decision making process and plans to either adjust the mapping table to meet user requirements or to approve its withdrawal.  


  • All Areas


  • TRUD SNOMED CT Subscribers
  • Clinical Coding Professionals
  • Clinical Coding Auditors
  • Coding, Finance & Information Managers
  • TRUD NICIP Subscribers


  • Terminology
  • Pharmacy
  • Classifications
  • Clinical Coding