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Access to abortion services now more accessible for West Coasters

Tuesday 26 April 2022Health news2 minutes to read

West Coast DHB has recently implemented abortion services on the West Coast for pregnancies less than 12 weeks. This means that West Coasters can now access these services locally and, in some cases, abortions can take place at home if the necessary clinical criteria have been met.

Executive Director – Midwifery and Maternity Services Norma Campbell says that these services have been implemented to increase accessibility and address inequities in service provision by removing barriers and delays while also offering several choices.

“These changes are a major development for pregnant West Coasters who previously had to travel to Christchurch for these services. It’s important for anyone considering their options to have easy access to the required support including pre-decision and post-procedure counselling.

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 pregnant people with their decision. Our Qualified Pregnancy Counsellor/Social Workers based in Greymouth, Westport and Hokitika provide pregnancy counselling to everyone from Karamea to Haast. This is a professional, confidential and free service.

Clinical Director Transalpine and Rural Dr Brendan Marshall says that anyone wanting to access abortion services can self-refer to the Christchurch Women’s Hospital’s Gynaecology Procedure Unit or ask their GP or family planning for a referral.

“While you no longer need a GP referral to have an abortion, we still recommend making an appointment with your GP – there is no cost associated with this visit – to discuss your options, confirm how many weeks pregnant you are and to make a referral if you decide to proceed.”

Available options include early medical abortion via telehealth, early medical abortion outpatients and surgical abortion. If your pregnancy is over 12 weeks and 1 day, you will be referred to the Gynaecology Procedure Unit.

“We have a strong working relationship with Canterbury DHB who have created an interim telehealth abortion service for both DHBs until the National Abortion Service is rolled out in November 2022. This ensures that anyone wishing to use this service is provided with the necessary care and support as close to home as possible.

More information is available on the West Coast DHB website – here.

ENDS

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Page last updated: 26 April 2022

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