Maternity standards put women at the centre of maternity care

Date of publication:

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today published National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services. The standards describe what safe, high-quality maternity services should look like.

Following a number of high-profile failings in the delivery of safe, high-quality care in maternity services, HIQA committed to the development of specific standards for maternity services to drive improvements in quality and safety. Ireland’s first National Maternity Strategy, ‘Creating a Better Future Together’ was launched in January 2016. These standards have been designed to support the implementation of the National Maternity Strategy.

Marie Kehoe-O’Sullivan, HIQA’s Director of Standards and Quality Improvement, said: “HIQA developed the National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services to make maternity care safer and better, and to ensure that the services delivered meet the needs of the women they are supposed to serve. The launch of maternity standards enables services to ensure that they are meeting the necessary outcomes to safeguard the people using their services and to improve the quality of care they provide.”

The maternity standards cover eight themes of care including, person-centred care and support, and better health and wellbeing, to improve outcomes for women and their babies.

Marie Kehoe-O’Sullivan continued: “These standards are informed by national and international research and best practice, as well as the voices of women, patient advocates and front-line staff who participated in our advisory group, focus groups and public consultation. The standards put women at the centre of what maternity services do. By promoting practice that is up to date, effective and consistent, and based on best available evidence, they provide a framework of good practice for services to strive towards, but also for women to understand what safe, high-quality maternity care looks like and what they should expect from a service.”

The National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services were launched by the Minister for Health Simon Harris TD at Dublin Castle this morning.


Further Information:

Marty Whelan, Head of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement, HIQA

01 814 7480 / 086 2447 623

Notes to the Editor:

  • The National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services cover pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period (up to six weeks after birth), and apply to all maternity services. These services include, but are not limited to, maternity units, and primary and community care settings.
  • A public consultation on the draft standards was held over an eight-week period from 21 March to 16 May 2016. The consultation received 127 submissions.
  • The National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services are the first service-specific standards developed by HIQA.
  • HIQA’s 2015 Portlaoise investigation report and its 2013 Galway investigation report both identified the need for a national maternity services strategy to be agreed and implemented.