A survey next year will assess the NHS’s delivery of choice in maternity care.

Strategic health authorities are also being asked to assess their own region’s implementation of the government’s Maternity Matters strategy.

The strategy says mothers should have a choice of access to maternity care, type of post-natal care and place of birth - from a consultant led hospital unit, a midwife led unit and a home birth. It was meant to be achieved by the end of this year.

The Department of Health has written to SHAs telling them there will be a survey of women’s maternity experiences early next year.

Additionally, SHAs have been asked to report to the DH during November on current levels of choice, continuity of care, risk management, and levels of staffing and skill mix.

The letter, from chief nursing officer for England Dame Christine Beasley and director general of NHS finance, performance and operations David Flory, told SHAs: “We are aiming to capture progress in maternity services in a number of ways, recognising that the individual choice guarantees do not lend themselves to systematic monitoring.”