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Maternity Services Data Set

23 September, 2010 (13:42) | Audit/Benchmarking, Datasets, Government policy, Initiatives, National Programmes, workload | By: Helga Perry

Here you are, folks, this is what we’ve all been waiting for….. 

Maternity Services Data Set

and the 

Maternity Services Data Set Downloads Page  

To give feedback about the Maternity Services Data Set, e-mail the NHS Information Centre (please include ‘Maternity Data Set’ in your subject line) or use the  ROCR online form (xls 27.5KB).  

They say they are keen to receive feedback on central data collections from the colleagues who complete/submit returns. In particular, around the length of time data collections take to complete and any issues, suggested improvements or duplication of data collections.  So, readers, please make your views and expert opinions known to these people. 

Considering a lot of this is due to kick in at the beginning of April 2011 whether we like it or not, there still seems a heck of a lot that needs doing.  Is this exercise going to result in yet another permutation of  inadequate Secondary Data for Audit which will add to workload without any obvious benefit to clinical care? 


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Comment from Rupert Fawdry
Time October 5, 2010 at 13:49

The NMSD contains many useful definitions, but, being only concerned with “secondary data” and “outcomes” it fails to address the crucial question “How can we stop front-line clinicians being overloaded by data re-entry overload?”

As a spreadsheet
it remains virtually unintelligible to front line clinicians.

In the following file the same NMSD text has been re-formatted in more lay friendly manner

and in the following file this has been expanded to take account of the realities of software development and the potential workload for clinicians.

Comment from Helga Perry
Time January 20, 2011 at 18:17

According to what we were told today at the Perinatal Institute meeting, although the MSDS is “mandated” this does NOT mean mandatory/compulsory!! Trusts don’t actually have to use it!! It seems to be a case of, “well, we’d rather like you to use it but if you don’t have the resources/time/money/wherewithal then you won’t be forced to use it.” Some white elephant!

Comment from Hkausch
Time January 24, 2011 at 12:58

Just to clarify That “White Elephant”:
In the current financial climate, the government was unable to provide local implementation resource funds to support an NHS-wide implementation of the Maternity Data Set. Regretfully, this meant that the scope of the ‘mandate’ was restricted to only apply to those Maternity Services that have systemic capability (where electronic data capture meets the information requirements AND is achievable).
The architecture of the Maternity Secondary Uses Data Set was intentionally divided into smaller groups called “Segments”. The Segments are intended to support the maternity care pathway so that services can make monthly submissions based on triggered events (such as booking, scanning, screening, delivery, etc). Where Maternity Services are capable of electronically collecting data required for a Segment (e.g.: at booking or delivery), the Trust MUST make those monthly submissions. The NHS Information Centre acknowledge that electronic data capture (specifically in community settings) has been challenging, particularly with current technical constraints. Whilst some Trusts employ laptops and others transcribe from paper to electronic records, Portsmouth successfully piloted Digital Pens. In any event, where there is NO existing electronic data collection that can fully satisfy the requirements of a Segment, the Trust does not have to make provision to submit data for that Segment. However, they “should” look to improve systems and services in future to meet the mandate at the earliest opportunity.
The Implementation scope intends to start small, support the clinicians and avoid added burden at all costs in order to support the wider national “Do Once And Share” initiative. The Maternity Secondary Uses Data Set looks at re-using clinical data for secondary uses and was, therefore, intentionally designed on existing data capture; thereby to support the “record once – use many times”. The sponsors and commisioners will be looking how Maternity Services in England will support the data standards and provide data that is already actively collected while planning to deliver the remaining requirements as early as possible.

It was rightly stated that there is a heck a lot to do in preparation to implementing the data standards – hence the publication of the Advance Notification in December 2010. Adequate planning is required while Connecting for Health will be hosting workshops for IT system suppliers, Service Providers, Commissioners and anyone interested in the Maternity Secondary Uses Data Set If you would like to register an interest in this data set, please complete the on-line registration form:

The NHS Information Centre web site ( provides a “download page” where Maternity Services and Trust Informatics can download the data set specification, instructions (which MUST be read alongside the data set) and a conformance spreadsheet, which is a tool intended to assist services to identify “how well” their existing systems can meet the data requirements for all Segments.
In essence, Maternity Services will be given 12 months from the date the mandate is issued by the NHS Information Standards Board (ISB) to comply and conform. Early adopters wanting to volunteer are welcome and are encouraged to come forward. Connecting for Health look to support the implementation stages, particularly where services may struggle to meet the ambitious time scales. In either case, correspondences regarding implementation, should be directed to (Connecting for Health Implementation Project Manager).

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