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Publication, Part of

NHS Maternity Statistics, England - 2020-21

Official statistics

Further information

Further information about MSDS

More background information about the MSDS and MSDS v2.0 is available. 

Alongside this publication a Statement of Administrative Sources is also published, as required by the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. 

MSDS data are published monthly at provider level and higher geographies. The data items included in the published tables are explained in a metadata document, and NHS Digital publish a technical output specification describing the format and possible values for all MSDS data items. 


Further information about HES

The NHS Digital website contains more background information about HES.

The HES publications focus on headline information about hospital activity. Each annual publication includes a series of national tables and also provider-level breakdowns for some main areas.

All data items included in the published tables are explained in footnotes, and NHS Digital publishes data dictionaries for HES describing the format and possible values for all HES data items:

This data is also readily accessible via an online interrogation service (for NHS users) or via our bespoke extract service.


Caveats and data quality

Please note that delivery episodes for REF, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, are undercounted by approximately 3,150 records due to a submission made in month 13 overwriting previously submitted data. Any analysis of delivery episode activity for REF should therefore be undertaken with caution.

Detailed information about HES data quality of data items, and completeness of provider data submissions is available.

Detailed information about data quality of HES & MSDS data items, and completeness of provider data submissions can be found in the Excel data quality files published alongside this report.

A joint data quality statement reporting against the European Statistical System (ESS) quality dimensions and principles is published with this report.

In April 2019 the MSDS transitioned to a new version of the dataset. This is the second publication of data from MSDS v2.0, therefore data from this year and 2019-20 are not directly comparable to earlier years.

In order to prevent disclosure of identities or information about service users, all figures for the 2020-21 MSDS data have been rounded to the nearest 5. Figures between 1 and 7 are also rounded to 5. Percentages have been calculated from rounded figures.


Analysis and commentary

Percentages included in this publication, unless otherwise stated, are based on total ‘knowns’, e.g. the percentage of caesareans is based on all deliveries with a known method of delivery, excluding those with an unknown method of delivery. Where there is a high percentage of ‘unknowns’ for a given clinical practice or outcome (these are identifiable in all tables), the reported figures for ‘knowns’ should be treated with caution. Given the fluctuation in the number of ‘unknowns’ over time, it should be noted that all reported changes may be the result of changes/improvements in recording practice rather than changes in clinical practice or clinical outcomes.

For information on fields referred to below refer to the HES data dictionary and MSDS Technical Output Specification.



Last edited: 9 March 2022 11:27 pm