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Confidential Enquires into maternal deaths have been conducted nationally in England, and subsequently the UK, since 1952 (Knight et al. 2014). This Confidential Enquiry represents the longest-running national audit in the world and is internationally regarded as the gold standard programme of its kind. Despite being adopted widely worldwide, the outcomes and impacts of confidential enquires in maternity care have, however, not been formally evaluated.

The aim of this project is to assess the impacts of confidential enquiries and may be addressed using a range of techniques, according to the interests of the candidate concerned. Possible approaches would include: a systematic review of the literature  evaluating impact, “before” and “after” epidemiological studies across a number of countries/regions where confidential enquiries have been introduced, a “case study” approach in countries/regions where confidential enquiries have been introduced, a qualitative study to capture the range of impacts identified by key stakeholders, detailed longitudinal analysis of maternity data and/or maternity policies and guidance in the UK in relation to recommendations made in the confidential enquiries, ethnographic studies of confidential enquiry processes. 

Knight, M., et al. (2014). Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care - Lessons learned to inform future maternity care from the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths and Morbidity 2009-12. Oxford, National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford.

Research experience, research methods, and training

The project will provide range of training opportunities in epidemiological and health services research methods, including literature review, qualitative and quantitative epidemiological studies, secondary data analysis and policy analysis.

Prospective candidate

This project would suit a candidate wishing to develop expertise in a range of techniques in epidemiology and health services research, with a particular interest in evaluating policy in pregnancy and childbirth.

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