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Maternity Services

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what records her Department collects on the (a) performance and (b) capacity of the NHS to provide a safe and satisfactory (i) antenatal and (ii) post-natal service. (136507)

The Government are committed to the principles of good quality woman-centred maternity care. We have put in place a number of measures for improving maternity services, including during the antenatal and post-natal period. The National Health Service Operating Framework 2007-08 requires all primary care trusts to undertake an assessment of current services, identify gaps and barriers to service development in preparation for delivering “Maternity Matters”, the Government’s vision for maternity services.

While the information is not collected centrally, the Healthcare Commission assesses the performance of the NHS against the standards set out in “Standards for Better Health” published 2004. These assessments are published in the Annual Health Checks which are available on the Commission’s website at www.healthcarecommission.org.uk. In carrying out its assessments, the Commission looks specifically at how patient safety is enhanced by the use of processes and practices which prevent or reduce the risk of harm to patients.