Pathology Bounded Code List

There is no mandatory system for reporting pathology data within the NHS however the majority of reporting uses the Pathology Bounded Code List (PBCL).  The PBCL was developed as part of the Pathology Messaging Implementation Project to support a universal system of electronic reporting from pathology labs to GPs.  The main principle behind the PBCL is that all pathology tests and profiles were allocated an individual ‘Read Code’ to allow for electronic reporting from laboratories to GPs.

The system has not been adequately maintained and no longer meets the needs of the NHS.  Three main issues were identified within the PBCL:

  • There are a large number of inconsistencies and duplications
  • It does not cover the full range of laboratory tests used by the NHS
  • Read coding is being discontinued in favour of internationally recognised SNOMED codes.