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Maternity Services Data Set

MSDS is a patient-level data set that captures key information at each stage of the maternity care pathway including mother’s demographics, booking appointments, admissions and re-admissions, screening tests, labour and delivery along with baby’s demographics, admissions, diagnoses and screening tests.

As a secondary uses data set it 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.

For further guidance about MSDS v2.0 of the data set and how to make submissions from April 2019 go to MSDS v2.0. 

MSDS v2.0 April 2019 data and all subsequent 2019/20 data should be uploaded throughthe new Strategic Data Collection Service (SDCS) cloud; providers can optionally use the MSDS v2.0 Intermediate Database (IDB).

There is an extension to the submission window for MSDS v2.0 April 2019 data to Fri day 12 July 2019.

The submission windows for the following months remain unchanged and are listed on the MSDS v2.0 webpage.

Current MSDS v1.5 – ISB1513 Amd 45/2012

The current MSDS v1.5 data collection commenced in April 2015. The Information Standards Notice (ISN) required that maternity information systems be fully conformant with the standard from 1 November 2014. Maternity Service providers have been required to collect data locally since 1 November 2014, and central submissions commenced from 1 June 2015 (for April 2015 data).

Information on the current MSDS v1.5 ISN and subsequent corrigendum can be found through the archived Information Standards Board web pages.  

MSDS v2.0 – DCB1513 Amd 10/2018

Version 2.0 of the MSDS (Amd 10/2018) has been accepted as an Information Standard by the Data Coordination Board (DCB) and an Information Standards Notice (ISN) was published on 14 September 2018.

The MSDS v2.0 mandates local data collection from 1st April 2019 and national submissions from May 2019, at which point it will replace the existing MSDS v1.5.

The associated ISN and standard documentation can be found on the MSDS v2.0 DCB1513 publication page.

Learn more about MSDS v2.0

What data is collected?

This information relates to MSDS v1.5 

The Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS) sets out national definitions for the extraction of data for:

  • routine booking appointment activities
  • maternity care plan
  • dating scan
  • antenatal screening tests
  • structural foetal anomaly screening
  • labour & delivery
  • newborn screening
  • maternal or neonatal death

The MSDS provides a national standard for gathering data from Maternity healthcare providers in England. It covers key information captured from NHS-funded maternity services.

This data set standard will be used both locally and nationally to generate 'secondary uses' information, i.e. for a purpose other than direct clinical care.

The MSDS will provide reliable information for:

  • payment of Maternity Services
  • local and national monitoring
  • reporting for effective commissioning
  • monitoring outcomes
  • addressing health inequalities

Who should implement the maternity data set?

The MSDS should be implemented by all NHS-commissioned Maternity Services in England who have electronic data collection systems, including acute trusts, foundation trusts and private services commissioned by the NHS. The maternity care pathway covers antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal/postpartum episodes.

When do I need to implement the data set?

System Suppliers

From 01 November 2014, Maternity systems MUST be fully conformant with this standard.

Care Providers

From 01 November 2014, providers of NHS-funded Maternity Services MUST be able to collect information locally, and from 01 June 2015 MUST begin submitting MSDS submissions in accordance with this standard.

How do I implement the data set?

All providers should be discussing the MSDS with their system suppliers to make sure that any required upgrades have been made in accordance with the timescales in the ISN (ISB 1513 Amd 45/2012). If necessary, you should also be making any business changes to data collection processes to ensure that all data items are recorded and can be extracted.

The MSDS is submitted using an XML format. The XML schema has been developed along with a conversion tool, which enables providers to load or copy their data into the provided table structure. Once populated, the tool is able to export the data in the required XML format, ready for submission to the Bureau Service Portal. The associated XML schema is available on the NHS Data Model and Dictionary website. The XML schema is fully supported and any enquiries should be forwarded to with the subject of 'MSDS XML Schema'. The conversion tool pack is available on request. Please ensure that you are using the most up to date version of this, currently v2.4.

In order to start making submissions, you will also need to register to use the submission portal and supply a data user certificate (DUC) form, which you can find under the 'Maternity and Children's Data Set (MCDS)' heading on the NHS Digital Bureau Service Portal web pages . Any queries regarding registration should be sent to the Exeter Helpdesk via

How do I submit the data?

For each reporting period, data providers should populate their XML schema file with data collected from their own local systems and upload this to the central system, using the online Bureau Service Portal (BSP). You will need to register to use the BSP via the Exeter Helpdesk.

During the two month submission window, sites can make as many submissions as are needed. Any files submitted to and accepted by the BSP overwrite previously submitted files. It is therefore imperative that providers thoroughly check their data submission as there are no opportunities to re-submit data for a time period once the portal has closed.

Please note that no concept exists of primary and refresh submissions.

Please also check that you have not marked your file as 'not for submission'.

Once the window closes the 'last good file' present will be made available for national analysis and reporting.

Submissions for each fixed period are made up of data for the appropriate reporting periods.

What are the submission dates?

Data submissions for Maternity Services are based upon fixed period reporting. There is a period of approximately two months for each submission to be undertaken. Data submissions are required on a monthly basis, the timetable for which is shown below.

There was a change in this timetable between 1 January to 28 February 2018 when the submission window  opened for both November and December 2017 data.

Data submissions for Maternity Services

Window Opens

Window Closes (End of)




October  01/11/2018 31/12/2018
November 01/12/2018 31/01/2019
December 01/01/2019 28/02/2019
January  01/02/2019 31/03/2019
February  01/03/2019 30/04/2019
March  01/04/2019 31/05/2019

Additional data submitted by providers is published within the Maternity Services Monthly Statistics, England reports.

These statistics are initially badged as Experimental Statistics, meaning that they are new Official Statistics undergoing evaluation. They are published in order to involve users and stakeholders in their development and as a means to build in quality at an early stage. Each publication includes a standard Data Quality (DQ) Report that provides an overview of DQ in the MSDS dataset. A variety of DQ dimensions are shown and presented by individual data quality metrics and individual providers.

XML Extract Schemas

The xml schemas describe the structure of the exports and can be used to assist in development of in-house analytical and checking tools. You can download the XML Extract Schemas from the TRUD website. In order to access the schemas, you will be required to register with the website and subscribe to each extract. You will be notified each time there is an update and you can further manage your subscriptions from your TRUD account.

The document below details the requirements for forming extracts of data for the Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS) from the Bureau Service Portal (BSP).

Maternity Services Data Set Extract Specification

Guidance documents

Please note that these documents are currently in draft form and are subject to future updates to allow us to address any issues or queries which users raise.

Document Description Current version Last updated
Maternity Services Data Set user guidance The User Guidance describes how the information standard should be interpreted by service providers, IT system suppliers and other stakeholders. It helps users understand the scope of the standard and how it should be implemented locally. V3.8 11/08/2017
Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS) Implementation Guidance The Implementation Guidance provides guidance on how to implement changes resulting from the release of the MSDS data set ISN, and should be read in conjunction with all other documents. V1.2 28/03/2014
Maternity Services Data Set Technical Guidance This describes the data submission framework and how service providers should create and submit a data submission file. 'V1.4 12/10/2017

MSDS Information Governance and Fair Processing Guidance

Designed to support care providers implementing MSDS, this guidance contains suggested fair processing information for inclusion in existing patient information material.



Data Model and Technical Output Specification (TOS)

The Data Model has been approved by SCCI and therefore constitutes a final version that cannot be changed without going through the SCCI corrigendum or change request process.  The TOS has been approved by SCCI; however, validations and derivations are not controlled through the SCCI process and can therefore be subject to change.

Document Description Current version Last updated
Maternity Data Model v 1.5

A single page data model of the MSDS, for use with the Technical Output Specification and other documents.

V1.5 07/07/2015
Maternity Services data Set Technical Output Specification 1.8.18

A detailed specification of each MSDS data item, including linkage items used to link each data group.

V1.8.18 19/05/2017

Future Dataset Change Requests

The following document contains details of high level changes which users have requested to be included in the next version of the Maternity Services Data Set. We are always happy to receive constructive comments and suggestions for improvement, which will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Recommendations can be made via  with the subject line 'Maternity Services Data Set'.



Last updated

Maternity Services Data Set Change Request Log

A detailed specification of each requested change to the MSDS data set, including the stage of development each change has reached


How can I make an enquiry or provide feedback?

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Related pages

  1. internal

    Maternity Services Reports

    This page provides links to all publications as well as consultations, methodological change papers and other notices relating to our statistics.

  2. internal

    Maternity Services Statistics

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

  3. 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: 1 July 2019 12:05 pm