Over the past 4 years, the AIHW has been working to consolidate national maternal and perinatal data collection and reporting in Australia. This has been made possible through the National Maternity Data Development Project (NMDDP) at the AIHW, funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. The NMDDP was established in response to recommendations of the Commonwealth's 2008 Maternity Services Review, as well as the 2010-2015 National Maternity Services Plan, both of which advocate improved national maternity data collection and reporting.

Stage 1 of the NMDDP was conducted over 2011–2013, and included scoping of national information needs for maternity data, and the setting out of a range of data development activities. The report, Foundations for enhanced maternity data collection and reporting in Australia: National Maternity Data Development Project Stage 1 is available on the AIHW website.

This report presents the outcomes of Stage 2 of the NMDDP, which was carried out between July 2013 and June 2015. The second stage focused on:

  • continuing the data development of NMDDP priority maternity data items and creating a Perinatal Data Set Specification (DSS)
  • developing and piloting the Maternity Model of Care (MoC) DSS
  • producing a national report on maternal mortality for 2008–2012
  • developing methods to better capture and report on national perinatal mortality
  • producing a first national perinatal mortality report
  • providing greater access to maternal and perinatal data and metadata through web tools.

The Perinatal DSS is a major component of Stage 2 of the NMDDP, and currently contains – addition to the Perinatal National Minimum Data Set – 16 new nationally standardised data elements corresponding to clinical data items on the NMDDP priority list. Data development for non-clinical (psychosocial) data items is in progress. A report on screening for domestic violence in the antenatal period was published in August 2015.

The MoC DSS has been created to underpin the Maternity Care Classification System (MaCCS). The MaCCS is a unique national data collection system for maternity models of care that will, once fully implemented, enable detailed examination as well as provide summary national statistics on models of care in Australian maternity services. The MoC DSS has been piloted and revised, and is now a national data standard. This work is described in full in a supplementary publication to this report.

The 2006–2010 and 2008–2012 Maternal deaths in Australia reports have revived national reporting in this critical area. The first national report on perinatal mortality, Perinatal mortality in Australia 1993–2012, to be released in 2016, will be a major advancement in the provision of national information on this important topic. States and territories and the Commonwealth need to continue to work together to maintain the commitment to, and build a system for, ongoing national maternal and perinatal mortality reporting.

An important and continuing aspect of the NMDDP has been to consolidate and streamline reporting of maternity data and metadata while providing more contemporary and user-friendly access to the data. The perinatal data displays and the Maternity Information Matrix are web-based tools that have been developed and/or expanded during the NMDDP.

A third stage of the NMDDP has commenced and will run until June 2016.