Hospital Speciality 255 character limit


I’m trying add specialities for hospitals but editor has a 255 character limit. I need much much more. healthcare:speciality should not have a character limit.

It’s a general limit for any value, and cannot be lifted for single tags.

In your case, it might make sense to switch to healthcare:speciality:XXX=yes/main/additional/no/partial/trained.


I’m not sure that I would attempt to do that for most hospitals, certainly not general hospitals. However, looking at hospital and hospital:type tags, which are both rarely used, there does not seem to be any useful scheme of categorising hospitals in use. I think we could do with one: for one it would remove the need to add long lists of specialties for many hospitals.

So I would advocate developing better subtagging of hosptials (see further below), both to avoid this need and improve information about hospitals.

In some countries (the UK in particular) specialties are often coded using short codes. This usage is totally embedded in the UK, so “100” always means “General Surgery”, to the extent that it is essential to sort data by these codes for any reporting… Two letter codes seem to be in use in the US. I’m not aware of an international standard though. Use of such widely understood codes is another way to work with the 256 character limit, although I think the key per specialty as suggested byy @Nadjita is probably a better one.

Classifying Hospitals

In much of Europe general hospitals tend to fall into 2 or 3 groups : district hospitals, district hospitals with medical education, and regional university hospitals (in France conveniently CH, CHU and CHRU, in the Netherlands, the latter group were known as “Top” hospitals). A district hospital will usually offer the common specialties and have an emergency department. Any hospital with teaching will often either offer additional specialist treatment or deal with the a more complex case-mix within the common specialties. Regional hospitals will have additional specialties, sub-specialties and other departments, and are nearly always parts of a medical school.

In larger cities there may be more specialised hospitals: often for Women and Children (Birmingham is a good example). In more rural areas, and in smaller towns, there may be smaller hospitals, some with no in-patients (day hospitals) with a limited range of specialties or all services provided by general practitioners (e.g., Campbeltown Hospital). In Britain these are usually called “community hospitals” and in the past “cottage hospitals”.

Lastly, there are national specialist hospitals which usually do not admit patients except from another hospital (tertiary referrals). Examples in the UK: the National Hospital (neurology), Papworth Hospital (cardiology), Royal Marsden (cancer medicine), Maudsey (psychiatry). These tend to also be research-intensive and have extensive education programmes for doctors who have already qualified (post-graduate education). The Royal Marsden, like the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota), could also be regarded as an international specialist centre.

This suggests basic classes something like: community_hospital, district_hospital, regional_hospital, specialised_hospital. In other countries the structures may be different, particularly if hospitals are privately run businesses with less government supervision and regulation than in most of Europe.

This tagging scheme is used rarely and is not documented.

The much more common and documented scheme with individual keys is
health_specialty | Keys | OpenStreetMap Taginfo .
It’s quite unfortunate that we have all these competing tagging schemes, but I guess that’s how it is for the moment.