The Ministry has a programme of work in place to deliver the transformation of abortion services led by the Regulatory Assurance team, within the Health System Improvement and Innovation directorate, with the overall goal of accessible, equitable, and quality abortion services across Aotearoa.
The passing of the Act, and the subsequent decriminalisation of abortion in Aotearoa, means work on system improvements can begin. This includes increasing access to timely and equitable abortion care, and giving more of a voice to Māori, Pacific, rainbow, and disabled communities to create services that better meet the needs of these groups.
This is a significant programme of work with several workstreams, which cover:
- stakeholder engagement and communication
- standards, regulations, clinical guideline, policy, and research
- availability of medicines and medical devices
- service design and implementation (care pathways, models of care)
- consumer information
- data collection and reporting
- funding and accountability
- law and ethics
Engagement with key stakeholders
The Ministry of Health will continue to work with abortion service providers, non-governmental organisations, GPs and other health practitioners to increase their knowledge of the new legislation and what it means in practice, to ensure the most up-to-date information is available.
The Ministry of Health will also work with the sector to improve equitable access to affordable reproductive health services for pregnant individuals in New Zealand.
Service design and implementation, transformation of abortion services procurement and accessible abortion services
Between March and June 2021 the Ministry of Health ran a registration of interest (ROI) to support the vision of greater abortion service accessibility and equity within Aotearoa New Zealand.
The focus of the ROI was on three streams:
- service design (co-design of a new service with rangatahi Māori)
- service innovation (to improve access to an existing service) and
- abortion workforce training (inclusive of those supporting access to abortion).
The focus of all three streams was accessible abortion services for Māori, Pacific and Disabled people, with rangatahi (youth) access within these communities a sub-focus. Abortion workforce training had to be designed to be inclusive of Māori, Pacific and Disabled service users and aligned with culturally safe work practices.
Following decisions and discussions with preferred providers across the three streams, two providers withdrew from the process at different stages.
The abortion workforce training ROI has now progressed to contract with the NZ College of Sexual and Reproductive Health. They will be developing a suite of training for current and future abortion providers. This training will be available later in 2022 and we will update you once this is available.