Abortion Services in New Zealand

Canterbury DHB

Kaikoura District, Hurunui District, Waimakariri District, Banks Peninsula District, Selwyn District, Christchurch City, Ashburton District

Licensed institutions

Lyndhurst Hospital closed due to earthquake Feb 2011 and services were transferred to Christchurch Public Hospital. The clinic retained the name "Lyndhurst", located in Riverside Block, 4th Floor, Christchurch Public Hospital. As from June 1 2017 the name will be the "Gynaecology Procedure Unit".

Street Address:

Christchurch Public Hospital

1 Riccarton Ave, Christchurch

Postal Address: Private Bag 4711, Christchurch
Phone: (03) 378 6386
Facsimile: (03) 374 6822

Services provided

The Gynaecology Procedure Unit, christchurch Public Hospital provides first trimester termination of pregnancy (up to 12 weeks + 6 days) and assessment for second trimester pregnancy. It is open Monday to Thursday 8am until 4pm.

The service is available for women from the Canterbury DHB area and also accepts referrals from South Canterbury and West Coast DHB. Women can access assistance for travel and/or accommodation if they are referred by a specialist and meet Ministry of Health criteria. Information on Ministry of Health assistance should be provided by the referring DHB.

Appointments

Women can contact the Gynaecology Procedure Unit, Christchurch Public Hospital, directly for an appointment for pre-decision counselling.

If a woman has already made a decision to request an abortion, she first needs to see a GP (or consultant gynaecologist) or Family Planning doctor who makes a referral to the Gynaecology Procedure Unit for an initial appointment. The referral form can be sent by facsimile, posted letter, or taken by the woman herself to the initial appointment. The purpose of the initial appointment is to see the first certifying doctor (15-20 minutes) for medical assessment, with counselling available for all women.

If legal and medical criteria are met a second appointment is given to see the second certifying consultant (usually the doctor who will operate) and have the operation or commence the medication for an early medical abortion.

On the day of the procedure, appointments are made for between 8.30am to 10.30am. Women should expect to remain at the Gynaecology Procedure Unit, Chrischurch Public Hospital, for up to 5-6 hours in total.

A one-day service for Surgical Termination of Pregnancy is provided for women coming from out-of-town.

Early Medical Abortion is available for those women living in Central Canterbury.

Information required from the referrer

NZ residency and personal details, including contact telephone number; parity and gravidity, previous TOPs; LMP, pelvic exam findings, USS if discrepancy between size and dates or for out of town referrals; investigations (HVS, chlamydia and antenatal bloods); History and indications, contraception use at conception; recommended follow-up contraception; MRSA risk assessment.

The Gynaecology Procedure Unit, Chirstchurch Public Hospital, has a referral form which can be obtained from the clinic.

Certification

The certification process is provided by the doctors in the clinic. Two certificates are required and must both be signed prior to proceeding with the termination of pregnancy.

The initial appointment covers consideration for first certification by a doctor at the Gynaecology Procedure Unit, Christchurch Public Hospital. The second certificate is often provided by the operating doctor the day prior to operation, or it can be on the day of operation.

A same day service is provided for patients from outside Christchurch and the first certificate may be provided by a certifying consultant from the women's own area, but this is not essential.

Counselling

Counselling services at the Gynaecology Procedure Unit, Christchurch Public Hospital, are focused on supporting women with whatever option and decision they may choose. It is a professional, confidential and free service. Routine counselling sessions are available to all women providing time for discussion of options, procedures, anxieties etc in a non-judgemental way.

Pre-decision counselling, when a woman may be unsure of her decision, is also offered. A pre-decision booking does not require a GP (or consultant gynaecologist) referral, but if a decision is made to request an abortion, a woman will need to return to her GP (or consultant gynaecologist) to obtain a referral.

Counselling is available after the procedure and additional appointments can be made at any time by contacting The Gynaecology Procedure Unit Reception, Christchurch Public Hospital, 03 379 0213.

The procedure (surgical or medical)

Surgical operations are performed daily Monday to Thursday.

While a woman may be required to be at the Gynaecology Procedure Unit, Christchurch Public Hospital, for approx. 5-6 hours on the day of the operation, the procedure itself takes about 10-15 minutes.

For surgical terminations the method used is suction curettage under local anaesthetic with the woman sedated but remaining conscious.

There are both male and female doctors operating at the Gynaecology Procedure Unit, Christchurch Public Hospital.

Early medical abortion is available using mifepristone and misoprostol.This is available for pregnancies of less than 8 weeks and only to women living within 1 hour of the Gynaecology Procedure Unit, Christchurch Public Hospital, as appointments and procedure may take 3 days or longer to complete. Spaces available are limited, so prompt referral by the GP is essential. All patients requesting early medical abortion have an assessment by a social worker to ensure they have adequate support during this time.

Medical abortion after 12 weeks plus 6 days. Referral to Christchurch Women's Hospital can be arranged when this is assessed as medically appropriate. Surgical abortions are not provided but the Unit offers medical abortions over 12 weeks and 6 days (assessed by ultrasound scan).

Follow-up

Post-operative contraception can be prescribed or initiated while at the Gynaecology Procedure Unit, Chirstchurch Public Hospital. Depo Provera can be given immediately after the procedure. IUCD can be inserted at the time of the procedure.

Patients are advised to see their referring doctor post-procedure for follow-up care. If there are complications requiring specialist assessment, the referring doctor will refer the woman to Acute Gynaecology Assessment at  Christchurch Women's Hospital. If admission is required, the woman will be admitted to the Gynaecology Unit, Christchurch Public Hospital.

Cost

The service is free for New Zealand residents.The charge for non-New Zealand residents is $1500 with an extra charge for interpreting services $75 1st visit and $25 per hour.

Christchurch Women's Hospital

Street Address: 2 Riccarton Avenue, next to Christchurch Public Hospital
Postal Address: Private Bag 4711, Christchurch
Phone: (03) 364 4699
Facsimile: (03) 364 4006
Website: www.cdhb.govt.nz

 

Services provided

This is a tertiary, public-funded, hospital providing a full range of obstetric and gynaecolgoical services.

A second trimester service is provided for West Coast and South Canterbury District Health Boards.

First trimester

Assessment is made first at the Gynaecology Procedure Unit, Chirstchurch Public Hospital, or by a private gynaecologist.

Second trimester

All grounds other than fetal anomaly (available to women within the Canterbury DHB only).

A second trimester service is provided for West Coast and South Canterbury District Health Boards in cases of fetal anomaly only.

Appointments

Appointments are usually made at the Gynaecology Procedure Unit, Christchurch Public Hospital for initial assessment, counselling and first certification.

For patients referred through the Gynaecology Procedure Unit, Christchurch Public Hospital, the Nurse Manager usually makes the appointments for second certification and procedure at Christchurch Women's Hospital.

Counselling

Counselling is available either through the Gynaecology Procedure Unit, Chirstchurch Public Hospital, or through Christchurch Women's Hospital. It is offered to, and recommended for, every patient. As at the Gynaecology Procedure Unit, Christchurch Public Hospital, the professional counseling services available at Christchurch Women's Hospital are confidential and free of charge. Women can contact this service either before or after the termination of pregnancy on 364 4441.

The procedure

After 12 weeks and 6 days gestation a pregnancy is usually ended by medical induction of labour. A decision on the type of medical induction used is made following a medical assessment.

Follow-up

Provided by referring doctor or the Women's Health Gynaecology team when needed.

Cost

The service is free for New Zealand residents. The charge for non-NZ-residents is currently $1700 (day procedure) and $3495 if overnight stay is required, up to three nights.

Second Trimester - Fetal Anomaly

Appointments

Referrals are made to the Fetal Maternal Unit (FMU) team at Christchurch Women's Hospital. The team consists of two consultant obstetricians and three midwives. Referrals to the team come from Lead Maternity Carers (LMC), midwives, GPs or other specialist obstetricians.

Certification

Legal certification is completed.

Counselling

Counselling is available through the social work team at Christchurch Women's Hospital. It is offered to, and recommended for, every patient.

The procedure

The method depends on the gestational age.

After 12 weeks and 6 days medical induction of labour is required. The medication induction uses the combined medications - Mifegyne is given up to 48 hours prior to ongoing induction with Misoprostol.

 

Follow-up

Provided by referring doctor or the FMU consultant.

Cost

The service is free for New Zealand residents. The charge for non-NZ-residents is  currently $2095 (day procedure) and $4300 if overnight stay is required, up to three nights.

Ashburton Hospital

Street Address: Elizabeth Street, Ashburton
Postal Address: Private Bag 801, Ashburton
Phone: (03) 308 4149
Facsimile: (03) 308 3917

Services provided

Ashburton Hospital is a public hospital. The hospital performs first trimester surgical abortions only, under general anaesthetic. About 10-12 abortions are performed per year by general surgeons, on referral from GP certifying consultants.

Most patients from Ashburton are referred to the Gynaecology Unit, Christchurch Public Hospital for first trimester abortions and all second trimester abortions are performed in Christchurch Women's Hospital.

Appointments in Ashburton

The first appointment is made at the Ashburton Outpatient Clinic (Mon and Wed, 9-12). Appointments can be arranged by telephone, fax or posted letter by either the referrer or the patient. The referrer must provide patient details and the appropriate ASC forms. There is a usual waiting time for an out-patient appointment of 1-2 weeks.

At the out-patient clinic, the patient is seen by the operating surgeon, an appointment time of 20 minutes. Admission for the operation is arranged, for the following Tuesday (admission 7.30am, home the same day).

Certification

Patients in Ashburton are referred to certifying consultants by their GP or midwife. If certification is obtained, patients are offered the choice of Ashburton Hospital, or the Gynaecology Procedure Unit, Christchurch Public Hospital. Patients are referred to Ashburton if they request it. The Gynaecology Procedure Unit, Christchurch Public Hospital, has certifying consultants in the clinic, who can provide this assessment prior to operation.

Counselling

There is no counselling provided at Ashburton Hospital. Counselling is arranged by the referring doctor, depending on individual patient requirements or requests.

Follow-up

Follow-up for surgical or anaesthetic problems is provided by the hospital. The post-termination check is provided by the GP.

DHB responsibilities

All District Health Boards are required to provide termination of pregnancy services "for those women who meet the criteria provided by the Crimes Act 1961 and the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977". See Ministry of Health. However they may not necessarily provide the services themselves. Accessing accurate, up-to-date and informative details about how individual District Health Boards provide these services, has been extremely difficult. The information provided here is the best that we have been able to obtain for this district to date. We will continue to update the website as we obtain further information.

Last Updated: 25 May 2017