An application by Southern Cross to perform abortions at its Rotorua hospital has been withdrawn, with the chief executive saying the application should never have been made.

But a local doctor says she is disappointed by the hospital's decision to withdraw, considering it "a terrible shame for women in Rotorua".

The application for a licence to perform the procedure, made by Southern Cross Hospital on Otonga Rd, was withdrawn yesterday.

Southern Cross chief executive Terry Moore said the application was submitted before a final decision had been made to deliver the service.


"It should never have been applied for. The hospital hadn't gone through the full process.

"We have no intention to deliver that service in Rotorua."

Applications for licensing are reviewed by the Abortion Supervisory Committee, which is made up of three members appointed by the Governor-General.

There is currently nowhere in Rotorua where women can have terminations.

The nearest clinics women can be referred to are in Tokoroa, Waikato and Tauranga.

Rotovegas Youth Health clinical leader Dr Tania Pinfold said she hoped other options were being considered locally.

"GPs have always had access to terminations for patients. However, travel makes it hard for some patients.

"We know making termination services closer for our clients does not increase the number of terminations done.

"Reducing barriers to the service is important. Travel is a barrier and an added stress for some women."

According to the Abortion Supervisory Committee 2016 annual report, the total number of abortions performed in 2015 remained relatively unchanged from 2014 with a difference of 18 abortions.