Guidance

Child and maternal health data and intelligence: guide for health professionals

Information to help healthcare professionals make decisions about the planning and provision of services using child and maternal health data and intelligence.

Public Health England (PHE) collects and analyses available child and maternal health data and produces intelligence resources to help with improving services and outcomes.

This guidance supports commissioners, service planners and other healthcare professionals with using these resources to make or influence decisions about services that improve the health of children, young people and pregnant women.

Child and maternal health statistics

PHE publishes several collections of child and maternal health statistics. You can use these to help improve decision making when planning services for mothers, children and young people.

Overview of child health and child health profiles

The Child health profiles on the Fingertips data website provide a snapshot of child health in upper-tier local authority areas. These are part of an overview of child health that brings together indicators for local government and CCG areas across several different themes.

Download the child health profile for your area from the Fingertips data website to help you understand your community’s needs and support your work to:

  • improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people
  • reduce health inequalities

You can also use the profiles to help you:

  • work with local partners to plan and commission evidence-based child health services based on local need
  • compare your area with national and regional averages to identify areas for improvement
  • compare your area with statistical neighbours to learn from areas with better outcomes

Child and maternal health indicators

The Child and maternal health section of PHE’s Fingertips data tool brings together indicators on several themes:

  • breastfeeding
  • mental health and wellbeing
  • health behaviours
  • healthcare use
  • long term conditions and complex needs
  • mortality
  • obesity
  • unintentional injuries
  • vaccinations and immunisations
  • vulnerable children and young people

Use the indicator tools to:

  • see trends, variation and inequalities in these themes across England
  • compare your local area with others, as well as regionally and nationally
  • download theme data for each local authority and clinical commissioning group area

You can also view the indicators together in life stages: pregnancy and birth, early years, school-age children, and young people.

Breastfeeding statistics

The Breastfeeding statistics bring together data and commentaries for levels of breastfeeding at 6 to 8 weeks after birth. There is quarterly and annual data for each local authority and by region on the numbers of infants who are:

  • due 6 to 8 weeks reviews in each quarter
  • being ‘totally’ breastfed (receiving breast milk but no formula milk or any other liquids or food)
  • being ‘partially’ breastfed (receiving breast milk and formula milk or other liquids or food)
  • being ‘not at all’ breastfed (receiving no breast milk)

Use this intelligence together with the breastfeeding section of Fingertips to track the rates of breastfeeding in your area, and compare with other areas. This will help you to identify where to improve existing provision to support new mothers or plan new services.

Health visitor service delivery metrics

The quarterly and annual Health visitor service delivery metrics bring together local authority data on visits to mothers and babies at several stages during pregnancy and after birth:

  • antenatal contact
  • new birth visit
  • 6 to 8 week review
  • 12 month review
  • 2 to 2 and a half year review

Use the data to track visits in your local area and see variation at a local, regional and national level. The metrics and supporting commentaries can then help you identify if there is a need to review services and where there could be improvements.

Child development outcomes at 2 to 2 and a half years

The quarterly and annual child development outcomes at 2 to 2 and a half years metrics provide local authority data on outcomes for children aged 2 to 2 and a half years, as measured by the Ages and Stages Questionnaire 3 (ASQ-3), in these areas of development:

  • communication skills
  • gross motor skills
  • fine motor skills
  • problem solving skills
  • personal-social skills
  • all five areas of development

The ‘Feasibility study: developing the capability for population surveillance using indicators of child development outcomes aged 2 to 2 and a half years’ sets out how national child development outcome indicators can be developed to enable population surveillance of child development.

Teenage pregnancy and parenting resources

Teenage parent outcomes modelling tool

The Teenage parent outcomes modelling tool brings together data and evidence about factors that affect outcomes for teenage parents and their children. The Teenage mothers and young fathers support framework should be read alongside this tool as it can help you review support arrangements for young parents in your local area.

There are 2 parts to the tool:

  • the demographic summary, which provides a summary of conception and birth data for various age groups in your local authority area. You can compare your area to regional and national rates, and your 4 closest statistical neighbours
  • the outcome modelling, which provides data on teenage birth rates in your local authority area. It also shows data for outcomes known to be poorer for teenage parents, such as unemployment

Use this tool to help plan and commission effective services for teenage parents. For example, if you are setting up a new stop smoking service aimed at young mothers, the tool will allow you to investigate the potential impact.

You can find further user guidance in the ‘how to’ guide within the tool itself.

Further under 18 conception data and analysis show trends and variation in teenage pregnancies across local authorities from 1998 to 2014.

Improving services for childhood illness tools

There are 2 improving services tools:

  • the Disease management information tool (DMIT), which provides hospital admissions information for children with asthma, diabetes or epilepsy
  • the ‘Children who are ill’ tool, which provides hospital admissions information for children with common illnesses, such as respiratory or gastric conditions, as well as for those with complex conditions, such as congenital heart conditions, cerebral palsy or metabolic disorders

With these tools you can:

  • examine the use of hospital services by children living in your area
  • compare your area to other similar areas, the top performing areas, your region and the England average
  • view trends to see if activity levels are going up or down
  • identify potential relationships between different factors
  • view variation across the country

The DMIT also allows you to view likely costs based on activity levels.

Use these tools to help you make improvements to children’s health services that aim to prevent unplanned hospital admissions or reduce the length of time children spend in hospital.

Other resources

Child and maternal health and wellbeing current awareness update

You can subscribe to PHE ebulletins to keep you up to date with the latest information resources relating to child and maternal health. Register your email address then change your preferences and select ‘Child and maternal health current awareness e-bulletin’. The e-bulletin is sent every 2 weeks.

The last 6 issues of the update are available from PHE Knowledge and Library Services online.

Service planning and performance reports

You can generate a range of reports to support service planning and performance on different themes for CCGs and local authorities. The ready-made reports present available data and evidence which you can use in your own presentations and reports and enhance with local data and interpretation.

Further guidance for health professionals

The Reducing unintentional injuries among children and young people guidance presents 3 action areas you can apply to help reduce the numbers of children injured and killed. It also describes 4 steps you can take with local partners to build robust injury prevention strategies.

The wellbeing of 15 year-olds: further analysis of the 2014 What About YOUth? survey report highlights associations between health behaviours, other self-rated life factors (such as bullying and body image) and wellbeing. It also looks at inequalities in relation to deprivation, disability and sexual identity to show where vulnerable young people may be overlooked. Commissioners and providers of health, social care and education can use this information to target local resources where they are likely to have the most impact in terms of improving the wellbeing of young people.

Further information

PHE’s National Child and Maternal Health Intelligence Network produce these resources for commissioners and other health professionals to help them improve services. For further guidance and information about the tools and analysis please email chimat@phe.gov.uk.

Older information from the network is available on the UK Government Web Archive.

Published 14 June 2017
Last updated 31 January 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added child development outcomes at 2 to 2 and a half metrics.
  2. First published.