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National review of maternity services

We launched our national review of maternity services across Wales in June 2019. Phase one of the review ran from June 2019 to summer 2020 and we published phase one report in November 2020. 

Work started on phase two of the review, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in January 2021, we decided to delay phase two for a period of six months.

In July 2021, we reviewed our position for phase two plans alongside our risk based inspection and reviews programme for 2021-22 and our resources. Following careful consideration, we have taken the decision not to progress with phase two of the review as set out in our published terms of reference. Instead, for issues identified in relation to aspects of maternity care that were outside the original scope of the national review, we will seek assurances through our follow up work.

This review is a nationally important piece of work exploring the quality and safety of maternity services in Wales. Our decision to undertake this review was based on a number of concerns relating to the pressures around maternity services in Wales, including the concerns in Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board maternity services highlighted by HIW in our maternity inspection in Royal Glamorgan Hospital in October 2018 and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Royal College of Midwives in April 2019.

Phase one of the national review explored:

  • The experiences of women, their partners and families.

And the extent to which health boards across Wales:

  • Provided safe and effective maternity services
  • Understood the strengths and areas for improvement within their maternity services.

Inspections of maternity services

As a key part of our review, from June 2019 to January 2020 we carried out a programme of unannounced inspections of maternity services across Wales. Following this we carried out a further programme of announced inspections within free standing birthing units in the applicable health boards.

Each inspection resulted in its own inspection report. Links to all maternity inspection reports carried out as part of the review are included right-hand side of this page.

The terms of reference for phase one of the review is published below, together with the phase one report, an easy read version of the phase one report and the analysis of the national public survey carried out in support of phase one of the reviewThe survey asked people with recent experience of maternity services to share those experiences and their views of maternity services with us. We have displayed the data obtained from the national public survey in an interactive dashboard, which can be made available on request by emailing