Health Statistics Quarterly

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 53–79

Linking maternity data for England, 2005‐06: methods and data quality

Authors

  • Nirupa Dattani
    • City University London, Department of Midwifery and Child Health
  • Preeti Datta‐Nemdharry
    • City University London, Department of Midwifery and Child Health
  • Alison Macfarlane
    • City University London, Department of Midwifery and Child Health
Article

DOI: 10.1057/hsq.2011.3

Cite this article as:
Dattani, N., Datta‐Nemdharry, P. & Macfarlane, A. Health Stat Q (2011) 49: 53. doi:10.1057/hsq.2011.3

Abstract

Introduction

Maternity Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data were linked to birth registration and NHS Numbers for Babies (NN4B) data to bring together some key demographic and clinical data items not otherwise available at a national level. This project added to earlier work involving linkage of birth registration records to NN4B records.

Methods

Birth registration and NN4B records were linked to Maternity HES delivery records and also Maternity HES baby records using the NHS Number or other indirect identifiers if NHS Number was missing.

Data quality and completeness of Maternity HES were assessed in relation to birth registration data wherever possible. For information not collected at registration, NN4B data were used to validate quality of Maternity HES.

Results

Overall, 91 per cent of Maternity HES delivery records could be linked to the birth registration/NHS Numbers for Babies records and 84 per cent of Maternity HES baby records were linked.

In 2005 only 3 per cent of Maternity HES records had mother's NHS number missing, compared with 30 per cent in the NN4B dataset. This did not reflect the extent to which Maternity HES data items were missing or discordant.

Over a quarter of all linked Maternity HES records for singleton babies had one or more of the following data items missing: birthweight, gestational age, birth status, sex, and date of birth of the baby. On the other hand, for data items where information was stated such as birthweight, birth status, and sex for singleton babies, there was good agreement between Maternity HES and linked birth registration and NN4B data.

Although NN4B records the ethnic category of the baby as defined by the mother, and Maternity HES records mother's ethnic category, 87 per cent of the linked records had the same ethnic group.

Conclusion

Even though a good linkage rate was obtained, the method used will be simplified before data for 2007 are linked. To gain the maximum benefit from this linkage in future years, improvements are urgently needed in the quality and completeness of the data contained in Maternity HES.

List of Tables, 55

Copyright information

© Crown copyright 2011