Change Request
NHS Information Authority

Data & Information Standards Programme

Reference: Change Request 406
Version No: 1.10
Subject: ETHNIC CATEGORY default code
Type of Change: Revision of NHS Data Standards
Effective Date: Immediate
Reason for Change: The Class ETHNIC CATEGORY contains a National Code of 'Z not stated', and the existence of this code requires a change to a Default Code in the Data Element: ETHNIC CATEGORY.


The default code '9 - not given' within the Data Element ETHNIC CATEGORY, was a legacy of the previous Office of National Statistics (ONS) Ethnic Category codes, which did not have a 'not stated' code. Hence some Trusts had historical entries of '9' meaning 'not stated' which they did not want to lose.

It was agreed that the national code of 'Z - not stated' meant that the person had been asked and had declined either because of refusal or genuine inability to choose. 'Not known' should be used where the patient had not been asked or the patient was not in a condition to be asked, eg unconscious.

It was suggested that as ETHNIC CATEGORY was a two character code (an2) the default code should be changed to 99 - not known and the existing '9 - not given' should be withdrawn.

Summary of changes:

Class Definitions
ETHNIC CATEGORY    Change to Description
Data Elements
ETHNIC CATEGORY    Change to Description

Date: 22 July 2004
Sponsor: Data Definition Group (DDG)

Note: Additions shown in highlighted with a blue background. Deletions are shown using strikeout. Within the Diagrams deleted classes and relationships are shown as red in colour, blue is used for changed items and green is used for created items.

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Change to Class: Change to Description


The ethnicity of a PERSON, as specified by the PERSON.

Note: ETHNIC CATEGORIES is the classification used for the 2001 census, replacing ETHNIC GROUP in the flows through the NHS-wide Clearing Service. The Office of National Statistics has developed a further breakdown of the group from that given, which may be used locally. The reference is given below.

National Codes:

A British
B Irish
C Any other White background
D White and Black Caribbean
E White and Black African
F White and Asian
G Any other mixed background
Asian or Asian British
H Indian
J Pakistani
K Bangladeshi
L Any other Asian background
Black or Black British
M Caribbean
N African
P Any other Black background
Other Ethnic Groups
R Chinese
S Any other ethnic group
Z Not stated

This class is also known by these names:

Context Alias



Change to Data Element: Change to Description

Format/length: an2
National Codes: Press Definition button for the National Codes
Default Codes: 9 - Not given
Default Codes: 99 - Not known

The 16+1 new ethnic data categories defined in the 2001 census will become the national mandatory standard for the collection of ethnicity. From 1/4/2001, they must be used for the collection of all statistical data sets in England, NHS and PSS, including the Admitted Patient Care CDS and Hospital Episode Statistics. (See DSCN 21/2000 and DSCN 02/2001).

The new national code must be entered as the first character in the 2 character field. The second character is an optional field only required for use locally. It must, however, be able to be grouped consistently with the 16 main categories.

The information recorded about ETHNIC CATEGORIES must be obtained by asking the PATIENT.

All provider units must collect and record data on the ETHNIC CATEGORIES of PATIENTS for inclusion in the Admitted Patient Care CDS; it will also be extracted for HES. Note that the mandatory requirement to collect and record the ETHNIC CATEGORIES of admitted patients does not extend to newborn babies (i.e. birth episodes) but providers and commissioners may decide locally to collect this data. ETHNIC CATEGORIES - newborn - is not extracted and passed back to HES.


This data element is also known by these names:

Context Alias


For enquiries about this DSCN:-


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