The purpose of this evaluation is to assess the extent to which the states and territories collected and provided data in accordance with the Perinatal NMDS specifications as published in the National health data dictionary (NHDD) for the period 2006 to 2009.

The compliance evaluation involved a structured review of the data provided annually to the NPESU for records of births in the calendar years 2006 to 2009. Three measures were used to assess compliance: correct definition; correct use of domain values; and correct use of scope (whether data were provided for greater than 99.5% of applicable records).

Key findings

  • For 2006 to 2009 there were 11 data elements (out of a maximum of 19 for 2006 and 21 for later years) where all states and territories used the national standard definition and domain values and provided the item for greater than 99.5% of reported births or women who gave birth.
  • Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory were the only jurisdictions that were compliant with all three measures of definition, domain values and scope for all data elements.
  • Compliance with the correct NHDD definition by all states and territories ranged from 79% of data elements (15 of 19) in 2006 to 81% (17 of 21) for 2007, 2008 and 2009. The main reason for non-compliance with data definitions related to the use of confidentialised dates.
  • All jurisdictions used the national standard domain values for 79% of data elements (15 of 19) for 2006. This declined to 71% of data elements complying for the following two years (15 of 21), then improved for the final year to 76% (16 of 21).
  • Non-compliance with domain values was generally related to the use of discontinued data values or the use of additional, state-specific data values.
  • Compliance with scope was variable from year to year with 74% of data elements compliant in the 2006 reference year (14 of 19), 71% in 2007 (15 of 21 elements), 76% in 2008 (16 of 21) and 67% in 2009 (14 of 21).


There was an overall minor improvement in compliance with the NMDS specifications since the previous evaluation for 2001 to 2005. There were legislative barriers in some jurisdictions preventing compliance with definition, domain values and scope for data items that involved the provision of dates. In particular, South Australia and New South Wales provided confidentialised dates for several data items which resulted in non-compliance.

The use of discontinued domain values following changes to the NHDD resulted in some jurisdictions being non-compliant for some data items. Most jurisdictions can improve compliance with the specifications of the Perinatal NMDS, with currently only two having full compliance with all data elements―Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.