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Maternity and Children's Data Set

The Maternity and Children's Data Set (MCDS) has been developed to help achieve better outcomes of care for mothers, babies and children. The data set will provide comparative, mother and child-centric data that will be used to improve clinical quality and service efficiency; and to commission services in a way that improves health and reduces inequalities. As a 'secondary uses' data set, it re-uses clinical and operational data for purposes other than direct patient care.

What will the data set achieve?

Information from the data set will be made widely available to commissioners, providers, clinicians and service users and will be used to:

  • record, compare and improve outcomes and safety
  • improve clinical quality and service efficiency
  • commission services in a way that improves health and reduces inequalities
  • improve accountability by providing comparative information to service users
  • provide activity data on which to base mandatory tariffs for Payment by Results
  • support regulation
  • increase the understanding and dissemination of best practice
  • underpin improvement of local information systems to meet data set standards

The Maternity and Children's Data Set incorporates the following individual information standards:

  1. Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS)
  2. Children and Young People's Health Services (CYPHS) data set
  3. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) data set

We developed and tested these standards, working with the NHS and sponsored by the Department of Health.

The standards have received full approval from the Information Standards Board (ISB) (external) (Opens in a new window) as information standards for the NHS in England. The standards represent 'output specifications' that define how data should be submitted by NHS commissioned or provided services to a central data warehouse. NHS services will have the flexibility to adopt any local data collection process and employ whichever IT system that is capable of extracting data in accordance with the output specification.


Work on the Maternity and Children's Data Set began with the policy driver of the National Service Framework (NSF) for Children, Young People and Maternity Services in 2004 and remains aligned to the policy direction set out in:

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