There has been little professional debate in the UK literature about nursing diagnosis and this paper explores some of the reasons why nursing diagnosis has failed to gain momentum among nurses in the United Kingdom. The nursing diagnosis movement has now reached some European countries and in the light of the International Classification of Nursing Project (ICNP) and the Strategic Advisory Group for Nursing Information Systems (SAGNIS) project commissioned by the NHS Executive (NHSE), requires a close examination by British nurses. The unsuccessful attempt by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association (NANDA) to have its taxonomy accepted for inclusion in the World Health Organization's 10th revision of the International Classification of Diseases, an innovation which would have made the NANDA taxonomy the definitive classification of nursing, should alert British nurses to the importance of nursing diagnosis. Although nurses effectively diagnose as part of the nursing process, adoption of the concept of nursing diagnosis as a driving force for practice evades many of them. This paper reflects upon some of the logistical and conceptual difficulties including issues of culture and terminology. It is suggested that nursing diagnosis has a great deal to offer British nurses in their efforts to improve the quality of care and to provide data in this area for both practice and research.