National Strategic Approach to Maternity Services

Closed 18 Jun 2018

Opened 2 May 2018


The 2010-2015 National Maternity Services Plan (the Plan), developed under Commonwealth leadership, concluded on 30 June 2016. The Plan was endorsed by State, Territory and Commonwealth governments for the five year period 2010-2015.

In September 2017 the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC) agreed to start a new process to develop a National Strategic Approach to Maternity Services (NSAMS).

The expected outcome for the NSAMS project is a document to guide national maternity services policy. NSAMS will reflect the available evidence to support best practice care in maternity services and the delivery of quality and safe care to the Australian community.

As a project under AHMAC there is a requirement to have a jurisdictional advisory group. This is made up of representatives from each of the jurisdictions and is known as the Project Reference Group (PRG). 

The PRG is supported by an Advisory Group (AG) which is constituted of a cross section of both consumers and health professionals.

Why we are consulting

There are a wide range of interested stakeholders and views on maternity services in Australia.  Before designing a NSAMS we want to hear from interested stakeholders on what you believe works well and what needs improvement.  This will aid in reaching consensus on key areas of focus for the NSAMS.

The NSAMS will have a range of consultation mechanisms.  The AG will provide key input from its members and through its networks. In addition there will be workshops, focus groups and on line opportunities. The first round of consultation actions are outlined below.

Consultation Paper

An initial consultation paper has been prepared to seek stakeholder views on the design of NSAMS. 

The paper particularly seeks to:

  • outline the rationale for a NSAMS
  • examine the challenges and successes of the 2010-2015 National Maternity Services Plan
  • consider current evidence for maternity outcomes
  • compare Australian outcomes nationally and internationally on quality and safety measures
  • consider other related plans and strategies
  • consider the strengths and weaknesses of the current system
  • gain insights into key issues for both consumers and health providers in the provision of maternity services

Please send your completed submission to



MDP 515, Australian Government Department of Health, PO BOX 9848

Canberra Act 2601

Consultation workshops will also be held in a variety of locations across Australia. The initial round will be held in May – June 2018.

Unfortunately the Department of Health is unable to provide support for travel or accommodation for attendance at workshops are focus groups.


What happens next

The outcomes of the workshops and focus groups and the feedback from the online consultation will be used to inform the development of the new strategic approach and identify priority areas, targets or actions.  This will then be subject to further consultation prior to finalisation.

Future updates on the NSAMS project will be published on the Department of Health website. Please visit the Health website to keep up to date.

The Development of the NSAMS has an anticipated completion date of no later than July 2019. 



  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People
  • Men
  • Women
  • Families
  • Parents
  • Non-government organisations
  • State government agencies
  • Commonwealth agencies
  • Local governments
  • Health professionals
  • Health workforce
  • General public


  • Hospitals
  • Health insurance
  • Rural health services
  • Women's health
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health
  • Strategic Policy