A Lakes District Health Board (DHB) decision to offer termination of pregnancy in Rotorua will take away the stress of travel during an already difficult situation, according to a local doctor.
Dr Tania Pinfold said the provision of termination of pregnancy services in Rotorua didn't change anything as women from throughout the region had always had access to the service.
"They just had to travel for an hour," Dr Pinfold said. "This simply means medical and surgical terminations continue without the barrier of travel."
In the past, Lakes DHB has used a termination of pregnancy service provided by Waikato DHB and Family Planning, available at either Waikato, Thames or Tokoroa Public Hospitals. Generally most Lakes women had used the Tokoroa Hospital service, but that was no longer available.
"I don't believe the hour's travel had prevented women accessing the service but it had just made it that little bit harder."
While acknowledging termination of pregnancy was a service used by women of all ages, Dr Pinfold said it was interesting to note that half as many woman under the age of 20 were having terminations now than they were 10 years ago.
"This suggests access to appropriate contraception enables young women to decide whether to have a child or not.
"Women have the right to choose and Lakes DHB offering termination of pregnancy locally means a stressful situation becomes a little less so."
The termination of pregnancy service will be provided from Rotorua Hospital from this week, as part of its women's, sexual and reproductive health services.
DHB communications officer Sue Wilkie said staff had been busy transitioning the current termination services from Waikato DHB to the Rotorua campus.
"Lakes DHB has highly experienced and senior women's health service staff members who are helping ensure the transition is smooth and sensitive to the needs of our clients," Wilkie said in a press release.
Information about the termination service will be widely circulated and will include referral, eligibility and access details
Termination of pregnancy is a routine service provision requirement for DHBs.
"Lakes DHB has always carried out some terminations in Rotorua when the clinical situation is complex, and will continue to do so via the secondary gynaecological service."
Referrals for termination of pregnancy are made by general practitioners, lead maternity carers, and can be self-referrals.
Counselling is offered to all women as part of the process. Both medical and surgical termination procedures can be provided in a single day procedure.
"There are many reasons women choose to terminate a pregnancy and it is rarely an easy decision or process to go through. Lakes DHB is committed to providing a service where women are fully supported and cared for through this process and afterwards. This will mean special attention to our clients' confidentiality and privacy."
Under the Abortion, Sterilisation and Contraception Act (1990) all women must be assessed by two certifying consultants prior to the procedure with the Abortion Supervisory Committee responsible for overseeing and auditing the requirements and the quality of services.
Follow up is arranged and post termination counselling, if considered necessary.