The UK Obstetric Surveillance System: impact on patient safety

Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2013 Aug;27(4):621-30. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2013.03.002. Epub 2013 Mar 30.


The UK Obstetric Surveillance System is a national system that allows for the collection of information on a range of rare disorders of pregnancy, enabling national descriptive, case-control and cohort studies. The population-based nature of the studies conducted renders them less susceptible to the biases typically associated with observational studies. Data collected using The UK Obstetric Surveillance System and similar systems can be used to address a range of patient safety issues. These include assessing the safety of different treatment options, using the data as an aid to service planning, as part of ongoing quality-improvement initiatives, as a benchmark against which to compare hospital-level disease incidence and outcomes, to inform and audit national guidelines, and to monitor the effect of changes in practice or policy. Studies can be introduced rapidly in response to newly arising safety concerns. International comparisons can further enhance the utility of these data for improving patient safety.

Keywords: observational studies; patient safety; population-based; severe maternal morbidity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Benchmarking
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Obstetrics / ethics
  • Obstetrics / standards*
  • Patient Safety / statistics & numerical data*
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Quality Improvement
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology