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Maternity Services Data Set

The Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS) is a patient-level data set that captures information about activity carried out by Maternity Services relating to a mother and baby(s), from the point of the first booking appointment until mother and baby(s) are discharged from maternity services. 


As a secondary uses data set it also re-uses clinical and operational data for purposes other than direct patient care. It defines the data items, definitions and associated value sets extracted or derived from local information systems and sent to NHS Digital for analysis purposes.

MSDS sets out national definitions for the extraction of data including:  

  • mother’s details
  • mother’s booking, pregnancy and diagnosis details
  • care contacts and activities
  • mother’s labour and activity details
  • anonymous assessments and findings
  • baby’s details
  • hospital provider spells (inpatient stays in hospital during the pregnancy)
  • header and reference data. 

MSDS v2.0 is an update to the data set that introduces a new structure and content, including clinical terminology. It also mandates the submission of all maternity records in scope of the data set, including records that are held on paper which must be submitted in the required electronic format.

How the MSDS is used

The MSDS information captured from NHS-funded maternity services, provides reliable information for:

  • payment of maternity services
  • local and national monitoring
  • reporting for effective commissioning
  • monitoring outcomes
  • addressing health inequalities.  

Implementing this data set

The MSDS v2.0 should be implemented by all NHS-funded maternity services in England, including acute trusts, foundation trusts and private services commissioned by the NHS, including independent organisations providing NHS-funded maternity services.

Read how to implement the MSDS v2.0, and  links to the Technical Output Specification, User Guidance and Data Model.

Read how to submit data to the Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS) v2.0, including the submission timetable. 

Read how to access maternity services data reports and statistics. 

The legal basis for MSDS

The Maternity Services Data Set v2.0 Information Standard is the specification of a patient-level data extraction (output) standard. 

MSDS v2.0 DCB1513 Amd 10/2018 was accepted as an information standard by the Data Coordination Board (DCB) and an Information Standards Notice ISN) was published on 14 September 2018.

The ISN required that maternity information systems be fully conformant with the standard from 1 April 2019. The MSDS v2.0 mandated local data collection from 1 April 2019 and national submissions from May 2019.

The associated ISN and standard documents can be found by reading the MSDS v2.0 DCB1513 publication

NHS Digital has been directed by NHS England under section 254 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012; to establish and operate a system for the collection and analsysis of the Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS). 

When we receive such a direction to collect information, we issue a Data Provision Notice to the appropriate providers of the required data. 

You can read the previous archived MSDS v1.5 ISN and corrigendum through the archived Information Standards Board library. Access the MSDS v1.5 Archived Guidance Documents: Data Model, Technical Output Specification and user guidance.

Other tasks

Feedback or how to suggest changes

We are not planning to make further changes to MSDS in the forseeable future as we recognise the MSDS v2.0 was a significant change. We are always happy to receive feedback about requests for changes, these will be recorded and evaluated on a case by case basis. These should be emailed to NHS Digital enquiries team making clear reference to MSDS v2.0. 

Related pages

  1. internal

    Maternity Services Statistics

    This monthly statistical release makes available the most recent Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS) data from April 2015 onwards.

  2. internal

    Maternity Services dashboard

    The Maternity Services dashboard aims to bring together maternity information from a range of different sources. It supports the aim of the Maternity Transformation Programme in implementing the Better Births report.

Last edited: 5 September 2019 11:47 am