Implementation guide for interoperable medicines

This guidance is under active development by NHS England and content may be added or updated on a regular basis.

Units of Measure

A unit of measure is required when describing a dosage and can be supplied via one of two code systems:

Preferred: Unified Code for Units of Measure (UCUM)

The Unified Code for Units of Measure (UCUM) is preferred and should be used where possible.

Examples of when a UCUM unit of measure would be used are:

  • gram (g)
  • milliliter (ml)
  • percent (%)


    <value value="12.5" />
    <unit value="milliliter" />
    <system value="" />
    <code value="ml" />

Alternative: SNOMED-CT

In the instance where a UCUM unit of measure is not defined, use a SNOMED-CT unit of measure instead. All units of measure are descendants of concept 767524001 | Unit of measure (qualifier value) which includes both UCUM and non-UCUM codes.

Concept 732935002 | Unit of presentation (unit of presentation), which is also a descendant of the Unit of measure concept, holds a list non-UCUM units of measure that are used within prescribing:

Examples of where a SNOMED-CT unit of measure would typically be used are:

  • tablet
  • capsule
  • ampoule
  • patch


    <value value="2" />
    <unit value="tablet" />
    <system value="" />
    <code value="428673006" />

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