The use of OPCS-4 classification is mandatory for Admitted Patient Care Commissioning Data Sets (CDS) and wherever there is a national requirement to support secondary uses. The classification enables the provision of data on surgical procedures and interventions which forms part of national database collections for statistical and epidemiological analysis.
OPCS-4 classification is a vital component of national datasets such as Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) in England, Patient Episode Data for Wales (PEDW), Scottish Morbidity Records (SMR).
The NHS Classifications Service (NCS) supports, maintains, and develops the OPCS Classification of Interventions and Procedures (OPCS-4) which is governed by Crown Copyright.
The OPCS-4 versions and the financial year mandated for use is listed below. The implementation date for each version will always be 1 April. The background to the classification and its history in the NHS goes back many years.
Financial Year OPCS-4 version mandated for use
- 2014 OPCS-4.7 – until further notice
- 2011-14 OPCS-4.6
- 2009-11 OPCS-4.5
- 2008-9 OPCS-4.4
- 2007-8 OPCS-4.4
- 2006-7 OPCS-4.3
- Up to 31 March 2006 OPCS-4.2
Developments in healthcare, and the increasing diversity of interventions and procedures, means that any classification system can rapidly become out of date. OPCS-4 updates have been released to reflect changes to clinical practice, subject to mandatory approvals. The release cycle was determined by the Department of Health to support the Payment by Results and National Tariff timetable. The release cycle will be reviewed by NHS England.
Requests for change received by 1 December 2012 are currently being considered for the next update to create OPCS-4.7 planned for NHS implementation on 1 April 2014.
The OPCS-4.7 change entails the addition of new codes and descriptions and retirement of codes. The new entries are within existing chapters. There will be no change to the architecture of OPCS-4.
OPCS-4 Requests Portal
The OPCS-4 Requests Portal enables stakeholders to submit change requests online for consideration in future versions of OPCS-4.