Press Release

Minister for Health Simon Harris launches new National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, launched the new National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services at Dublin Castle this morning. The new Standards have been developed by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) in association with an Advisory Group drawn from a wide range of stakeholders.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister said “I have described 2016 as a landmark year for maternity services and this event closes a year which began with this country’s first ever National Maternity Strategy and which, just last month, saw agreement on the redevelopment of the new National Maternity Hospital.

“The standards we are launching today go hand-in-hand with the Maternity Strategy, which envisages an Ireland: where women and babies have access to safe, high-quality care in a setting that is most appropriate to their needs; where women and families are placed at the centre of all services, and are treated with dignity, respect and compassion; and where parents are supported before, during and after pregnancy to allow them to give their child the best possible start in life.

The Minister noted that the Standards, coupled with the new National Maternity Strategy, published by the Department of Health in January 2016, pave the way for a new, better maternity service.

The Minister concluded “These Standards along with the range of patient safety initiatives taking place in my Department will support better, safer clinical decision-making and a more connected health service, delivering better outcomes for patients.”


Notes to Editors

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. The Standards may be viewed at

The National Maternity Strategy was launched on 27 January 2016. Increased funding of almost €7m will be provided for maternity services in 2017 which will allow for the continued implementation of the National Maternity Strategy. Further information can be found at:

The National Patient Safety Office was launched by Minister Simon Harris on 8 December last in Dublin Castle. The office will focus on leading key patient safety policy initiatives, ensuring safe health services are informed by good data and supported by legislation; commence surveillance of patient safety information to inform and direct patient safety improvements for hospital and community care; develop a model for a new national patient advocacy service; and extend the national clinical effectiveness framework to promote evidence based healthcare. Further information is available at