words of WISDAM from the Electronic Encyclopaedia of Personal Data (EEPD)

Skip to: Content | Sidebar | Footer

Maternity data quality – from the CQC

27 August, 2010 (05:48) | Audit/Benchmarking, Data quality, workload | By: Helga Perry

Maternity data quality.

According to the Care Quality Commission (CQC):

Maternity data quality



The 2009/10 Operating Framework identified maternity as a key priority for the NHS. For acute trusts, this means going beyond the vital sign to ensure improved access as part of the wider Maternity Matters Strategy to deliver safe, high-quality care for all women, their partners and their babies. In July 2005, the Healthcare Commission’s investigation report ‘Review of maternity services provided by North West London Hospitals NHS Trust’ highlighted the importance of good information systems within maternity units. The report included a national recommendation on the development and implementation of a national dataset for maternity services.

The Information Centre publishes annual data quality reports which examine the coverage of data submitted by NHS trusts to the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES). There are mandatory fields on HES relating to maternities and births. The Information Centre’s annual reports have routinely found that completeness of these fields is, for many NHS trusts, inadequate.

The absence of adequate information on HES restricts the ability to monitor the clinical effectiveness and safety of maternity services across the country and increases the consequent administrative burden on trust staff of frequent data requests. One of the findings of the Healthcare Commission’s maternity service review, published in 2008, was that completeness of the parts of the HES records (‘tails’) relating to maternities and births continued to be poor.


Number of mandatory fields not complete within all Maternity Finished Consultant Episodes (FCEs), April to December 2009.


Number of mandatory fields within all Maternity Finished Consultant Episodes (FCEs) April to December 2009.


The indicator is the numerator divided by the denominator, expressed as a percentage.


Guidance regarding how the indicator is calculated and which mandatory fields CQC will use in the 2009/10 assessment of this indicator is available via the following link:

The list of fields detailed in this guidance is a subset of those marked as mandatory on the NHS data dictionary and HES websites.  Further information regarding mandatory maternity fields can be found on the following HES webpage:

Mandatory fields in HES (opens new window)

‘Not complete’ is defined as invalid or containing the default value.

HES data for the indicator will be sourced from Secondary Uses Service (SUS).  Data transferred from SUS to HES will undergo cleaning and other processes. As a result, data submitted to SUS may differ from the data within HES.

We intend to use HES data relating to April to December 2009.  The HES data used for the 2009/10 periodic review will now be sourced no earlier than the month 10 HES extract, which includes data submitted to SUS by the December post-reconciliation inclusion date of 23 February 2010. This is a change from the previously stated earlier month 9 provider submission date of 22 January 2010. CQC is currently considering sourcing data from month 11 HES extract, which includes data submitted to SUS with the inclusion date of 23 March 2010.  Please note that CQC still reserves the right to source data from any month but no earlier than the month 10 HES extract.

Details of the Secondary Uses Service 2009/10 PbR Inclusion dates and deadlines (PDF, opens new window)

Data will be validated to ensure broad parity between the number of birth episodes and the number of babies recorded on delivery episodes. Trusts will be penalised where there is a significant disparity between the count of birth records and the count of births recorded on delivery episodes.

Further details on data quality and timeliness   

Data source and period

Hospital Episodes Statistics (April to December 2009)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Write a comment

You need to login to post comments!