Data – the springboard to improvement in maternity services

Reducing perinatal morbidity and mortality, and improving maternal outcomes and experience, were established as network priorities early on in the formation of the South West Maternity and Children’s Strategic Clinical Network. When the Maternity Working Group first came together in December 2013, discussions quickly focused on the need for comparable, timely, pertinent and quality assured data to allow benchmarking across the region and to inform the quality improvement work of the Network.

The SCN has brought together acute trusts, CCGs and commissioners working in maternity services across the South West to agree 32 clearly defined measures which will make up the South West Maternity Dashboard. A detailed technical appendix has been developed alongside this to provide support to trust staff, particularly those involved in the collection of the data.

Measures such as still birth and low birth weight rates are provided by acute trusts whilst wider data such as babies breast-fed at 6-8 weeks are sourced from NHS England. Together these measures provide an accurate picture of the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies across the South West, enabling the identification of variation, best practice and areas where improvement work needs to be undertaken.

Routine data collection by 14 acute trusts, starting in November 2014, will occur on a monthly basis, two months in arrears. The dashboard is currently being built, with the final dashboard due to launch on the SWSCN website in Spring 2015.