NHS Maternity Statistics - England, 2007-2008
Correction: A minor change was made to Figure 1 (2007-08) (on the 06/07/2009), this is highlighted within the corrected document.
Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) contains a wide range of maternity information which has been published annually since 2000-01. This information has historically been reported separately from other HES data because it has a number of unique characteristics and issues which do not affect other aspects of HES data.
In December 2007, the Health and Social Care Information Centre began a complete review of the NHS Maternity Statistics publication, in the interest of bringing the publication in line with the National Statistics code of practice, supporting the measurement of the maternity indicator from the recent PSA (Public Service Agreement) target and the continuous improvement of published data within the Health and Social Care Information Centre. As a result of the consultation, a number of revisions were made to the Maternity Statistics publication. Full details of these changes with the full consultation document can be found here. Although issues with maternity data remain (such as poor data quality and coverage), due to changes in methodology, it is now possible (since 2006-07 data) to publish maternity HES data alongside inpatient and outpatient data.
As a result of the Maternity Statistics consultation, the Health and Social Care Information Centre agreed to continue to gross HES data using the Office for National Statistics (ONS) birth registration figures, as in previous publications. It was intended that a selection of tables would be grossed for the current maternity publication (2007-08), but due to a number of factors, this has not been the case. Issues that have led to maternity statistics remaining ungrossed are:
• a national grossing factor for HES data to ONS registered births would actually lead to a decrease in HES figures: the original purpose of HES data was to allow for shortfalls in the data • the grossing factor is 0.984 and so there is little difference between HES data and ONS registered births • geographical breakdowns for ONS registered births are unavailable in the format HES data are produced. This means that it would be impossible to gross data of a geographical breakdown below a national level.
Associated tables can be found on the HESonline website.
The quality of 2007-08 maternity data has deteriorated in comparison to previous years, primarily for the "place of delivery-actual" field. This was due to an error in the processing of SUS data in 2007-08. This error has now been rectified and will not effect 2008-09 data. Please refer to the data quality paper on HESonline for more information.
- the number of deliveries taking place in NHS hospitals increased by 20,630 (3.3 per cent) to 649,837.
Where the relevant information was recorded, figures also showed;
- the caesarean rate has increased by 0.3 percentage points. In 2007-08, the rate of caesareans was 24.6 per cent (153,406) compared to 24.3 per cent (145,051) on a comparable basis in 2006-07
- 20.4 per cent (94,422) of labours were induced compared to 20.3 per cent (96,542) in 2006-07
- the number of instrumental deliveries increased by 0.6 percentage points, accounting for 12.1 per cent (75,253) of all deliveries compared to 11.5 per cent (68,795) in 2006-07
- almost three quarters (74.1 per cent, or 196,055) of women with spontaneous deliveries spent a day or less in hospital after delivery, compared to 72.0 per cent (201,732) in 2006-07
- the proportion of women spending four or more days in hospital following a caesarean has decreased. 23.3 per cent (16,272) spent four days or more recovering in hospital in 2007-08, compared to 26.1 per cent (24,407) in 2006-07
- more than a third of women (36.5 per cent, or 149,497) had an epidural, general or spinal anaesthetic during labour, compared to 35.8 per cent (149,223) in 2006-07
- 13.6 per cent (87,893) of women had an episiotomy in 2007-08, compared to 13.3 per cent (79,737) in 2006-07
- 23.8 per cent (9,282) of Asian women's babies weighed more than 3500g (7lb 7oz) compared with 44.7 per cent (126,069) of White women's babies and 35.1 per cent (7,262) of Black women's babies. (In 2006-7 the proportion was 43.8 per cent for white women; 34.5 per cent for black women and 23.0 per cent for Asian women)
- 13.0 per cent (36,756) of white women's babies weighed 4000g (8lb 13oz) or more in 2007-08. This compares to 8.8 per cent (1,832) of black women's babies and 4.6 per cent (1,779) of Asian women's babies. In 2006-07 the proportion of babies born weighing 4000g and over was 12.6 per cent for white women, 8.4 per cent for black women and 4.4 per cent for Asian women
- low birth weights (under 2500g or 5lb 8oz) comprised 9.0 per cent (3,516) of Asian women's babies compared with 7.4 per cent (1,533) of Black and 5.2 per cent (14,755) of White women's babies. In 2006-07 this was 9.6 per cent (4,086) of Asian women's babies compared with 7.6 per cent (1,707) of Black and 5.5 per cent (15,997) of White women's babies
- in 2007-08, 36.2 per cent of deliveries were conducted by hospital doctors compared to 35.0 per cent in 2006-07, and 60.3 per cent by midwives compared to 61.7 per cent in 2006-07.
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