See also: Gynaecology Procedure Unit (on our CDHB sister site)
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Abortions are available on the West Coast for pregnancies up to 12 weeks. If your pregnancy is greater than 12 weeks you will be referred to the Gynaecology Procedure Unit (GPU) at Christchurch Women’s Hospital.
We work closely with the GPU at Christchurch Women’s Hospital. Referrals for abortions are done through GPU, with the procedure occurring on the West Coast for pregnancies under 12 weeks. GPU also runs the telehealth early medical abortion service for the people of West Coast and Canterbury. If telehealth is unsuitable, an appointment will be made for you to see a doctor at Te Nīkau Hospital and Health Centre.
Routine ultrasound scans are no longer required for all early medical abortions and will only be undertaken for people with a clinical need. For many, especially people who live rurally, this will mean there is no longer a need to travel to access this service.
|Abortion: Patient Information (Leaflet – PDF, 378 KB)||Provides detailed information about using abortion services on the West Coast.|
While you no longer need a GP referral to have an abortion, if you have a GP we still recommend making an appointment (there is no cost associated with this visit) with them to discuss your options, confirm how many weeks pregnant you are and to make a referral if you decide to proceed. Your GP will then also arrange the swabs/bloods that are required before an abortion and this can help speed up the process.
There is public funding for appointments during early pregnancy, so your appointment to get a referral should be free if you are a New Zealand citizen or resident. As always, your medical appointment will be confidential.
Alternatively, you can contact the Gynaecology Procedure Unit (GPU) at Christchurch Women’s Hospital on 03 378-6386 and staff will make arrangements for you. If your call goes to the answer phone, please leave your details for staff to call you back. GPU is open Monday to Thursday only.
Early Medical Abortion via Telehealth – this service is for people who are 9 weeks or less pregnant and meet the criteria to take the medication at home. The medications are sent to you, or alternatively we can make arrangements for you to pick them up with the process occuring at home, with follow up from the GPU nurses.
Early Medical Abortion Outpatients – for people who are 9 weeks or less pregnant and do not wish to have a telehealth abortion or do not meet the criteria. An appointment will be made for you to see a Doctor at Te Nīkau. Follow up phone calls are provided by the GPU nurses.
Surgical Abortion – for people who are 12 weeks or less pregnant. This is performed with sedation and local anaesthesia. You will have an initial virtual appointment with a Doctor from Te Nīkau Hospital and then you will come to Te Nīkau Hospital for the procedure.
If you are over 12 weeks and 1 day 12 weeks and 1 day pregnancy and want an abortion you will be referred to GPU at Christchurch Women’s Hospital for the procedure.
We know it can be hard to make a decision about what to do and we are here to provide support. Counselling is available should you wish to explore feelings and issues related to an unplanned pregnancy and the options available.
Counselling services are focused on supporting you with your decision. This is a professional, confidential and free service.
Counselling sessions are available providing time for discussion of options, procedures and anxieties. You are not required to have counselling, but it is available.
Pre-decision counselling is also offered if you are unsure of your decision. Post abortion counselling is also available.
Qualified Pregnancy Counsellor/Social Workers are based in Greymouth, Westport and Hokitika. They provide pregnancy counselling to everyone from Karamea to Haast.
Social Workers are based at Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika health facilities and are available Monday to Friday 8am to 4:30pm.
Abortion services and related counselling services are free to any pregnant person who is eligible for publicly funded health care.
Travel and accommodation assistance can be provided to eligible patients. This is approved by a West Coast DHB Social Worker.
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Page last updated: 4 May 2022
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