The second report shows substantial variation in practice between NHS trusts in England and this variation is a source of concern. It may suggest the care that women receive depends on where they live, or that NHS resources are not being used in the most efficient way.
The report makes a number of key recommendations for NHS trusts, commissioners and researchers:
- NHS maternity services should aim to submit complete data to HES and ensure standard coding definitions to improve consistency.
- Local commissioners should review the areas of maternity care described and agree the steps to be taken in order to improve local outcomes.
- Research is required to clarify ‘acceptable ranges’ of performance for intrapartum care and to improve understanding of the relationships between indicators.