Morbidity Definitions

In primary care in the UK, a patient’s health-related information is electronically recorded and coded. One of the most common methods of coded data entry is the Read code classification.

Several codes may exist which represent the same underlying morbidity. As no standardised method for the selection and application of the relevant Read code exists, the decision as to which label to apply is often subjective and may be more representative of personal preference or habit than the consistent application of a diagnostic code to a given clinical condition. In our research, we have used rigorous consensus approaches to deriving definitions and code lists for morbidities. These may be adapted depending on requirements of individual studies. These code lists are available for other researchers to use and no licence is required for non-commercial use of these codes.

To access and utilise these codes please register at: and you will be sent a password to access the codes. Please also read the information below.

Important Information

The copyright (©2014) of the morbidity definitions and categorisation lists is owned by Keele University, the development of which was supported through the Primary Care Research Consortium. No licence is required to allow non-commercial use of these resources, however if you wish to utilise Keele’s morbidity definitions and/or categorisations lists we do ask that: you inform us first through the registration page; you cite this website reference (; and acknowledge Keele’s Prognosis and Consultation Epidemiology Research Group each time our definitions or categorisation lists are used.

If, however, you wish to utilise these definitions and categorisations Lists within a commercial setting please contact Keele University Research Enterprise Services for further advice.

  • Please use these definitions and categorisations lists only for studies for which you have submitted abstracts to us.
  • Please do not pass definitions and categorisation lists on to other people without our permission.
  • For all publications or materials using these definitions and categorisation lists, the copyright statement acknowledging Keele University should be included as below.

Acknowledgement and Copyright Statement

When using the morbidity definitions or categorisations please include the following acknowledge/copyright statement:

  1. The copyright of the morbidity definitions/categorisations lists (©2014) used in this ‘publication/document#’ is owned by Keele University, the development of which was supported by the Primary Care Research Consortium;
  2. The ‘authors/organisation#’ would like to acknowledge Keele University’s Prognosis and Consultation Epidemiology Research Group who have given us permission to utilise the morbidity definitions/categorisations lists (©2014);
  3. For access/details relating to the morbidity definitions/categorisation lists (©2014) please go to

# - insert phrase as appropriate

Morbidity Definitions

Please click on required morbidity for information about how it has been defined. If there is no information currently, this means information has not yet been uploaded - please contact Kelvin Jordan.

Morbidity Name Definition Access to codes and algorithms
Osteoarthritis (including site) Download file  Download file 
Joint pain synonymous with osteoarthritis Download file  Download file
Rheumatoid arthritis Download file Download file
Rheumatoid arthritis precise definition (Muller et al) Download file Download file
Prodrome for rheumatoid arthritis (Muller et al) Download file Download file
Gout Download file Download file
Polymalgia rheumatica Download file Download file
Spondyloarthritis including ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis Download file
Site-specific musculoskeletal conditions
Back Download file  Download file
Foot and ankle Download file  Download file 
Hand and wrist Download file  Download file 
Hip Download file  Download file 
Knee Download file  Download file 
Neck Download file  Download file 
Shoulder Download file  Download file 
Polymalgia rheumatica Download file  Download file 
Chronic widespread pain Download file Download file
MEasurement of Dementia DIsease progression in Primary care (MEDDIP) Download file Download file
Cardiovascular disease (Chen et al) Download file Download file
Diabetes  Download file Download file
Chest pain (Jordan et al) Download file Download file
Bedson et al (Risk of adverse events in patients prescribed long-term opioids)
Download file Download file
Richardson et al (Increased risk of reproductive dysfunction in women prescribed lon-term opioids for musculosketal pain)   Download file
Chen et al (Pattern of symptoms before a diagnosis of first episode psychosis) Download file Download file
Chen et al (Pain consultation before first episode psychosis), in submission Download file Download file
Chen et al (Prognostic value of first recorded presentation of breathlessness in primary care)
Download file Download file
Ismail et al (Incidence, types, timing, and predictors of bleeding after hospital discharge following acute coronary syndrome), in submission Download file Download file
Campbell et al (Markers of dementia-related health in primary care electronic health records), in submission Download file Download file