Minister for Health Simon Harris has launched new standards for better maternity services.

The National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services have been developed by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to complement its maternity strategy launched in January.

HIQA says it describes what safe, high-quality maternity services should look like, and will help to ensure that services are meeting the necessary outcomes for people using their facilities.

It said it is committed to the development of specific standards following a number of high-profile failings in the delivery of safe, high-quality care in maternity services.

HIQA Director of Standards and Quality Improvement Marie Kehoe-O'Sullivan said the standards were informed by "national and international research and best practice, as well as the voices of women, patient advocates and front-line staff who participated in our advisory group, focus groups and public consultation".

The maternity standards cover person-centred care and support, better health and well-being, and improving outcomes for women and their babies.