Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) contains a wide range of maternity information which has been published annually since 2000-01. The publication includes details of all births taking place in NHS hospitals (in England) excluding home births and those taking place in independent sector hospitals. This includes a wide range of information such as details of how the baby was born (method of delivery), complications, birth weight and gestation.
This information was historically reported separately from other HES data because it has a number of unique characteristics and issues which do not affect other aspects of the data. More information about these issues can be found in the maternity topic paper. Following a public consultation exercise in 2007 and changes in methodology, it is now possible (since 2006-07 data) to publish maternity HES data alongside inpatient and outpatient data.
For the 2008-09 publication, the data has been released in two phases, this has enabled us to release headline maternity statistics in a timely fashion and deliver the remaining tables approximately 6-8 weeks later. This is an interim approach and will be reviewed before the 2009-10 publication is released, following consultation with users.