New Zealand College of Sexual & Reproductive Health

Abortion Training

Module 3: Early surgical abortion theory

7. Patient communication and support

General patient safety and support

Health practitioners must ensure that they are able to provide abortion care for people in a safe environment where they are treated with dignity and respect by all personnel when undergoing an early surgical abortion. High-quality, equitable abortion services must be available for Māori framed by Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The planning and preparation stages for provision of early surgical abortion should include special consideration of how the service will best provide care to rangatahi/youth, people with disabilities and members of the rainbow community. The clinical setting for the ESA procedure should also be considered from the patient experience perspective; for example by providing a comfortable surface, ensuring privacy, an even temperature and good lighting for the patient. Some patients may choose to listen to music during the procedure.

New Zealand Aotearoa Abortion Clinical Guideline 2021, recommendation 5.2.1 states: “Following abortion, give verbal and written information on what to expect. See Table 1: Information for people considering an abortion in Appendix B”.

It is important that people having an early surgical abortion are fully informed about the procedure, and what to expect. They should participate in decisions made about their care, for example the pain management used, anti-D and antibiotic prophylaxis and the management of the products of conception, before giving their informed consent to the procedure going ahead.

Patient centred information provision

The DECIDE website is recommended as a good source of information for people pre- and post-abortion. An example of a single page information sheet for people to take with them following an early surgical abortion is available for download here.


New Zealand Aotearoa Abortion Clinical Guideline 2021, recommendation 5.2.2 states: “Advise people to seek support if they need it, and how to access counselling and/or social supports”.

Health practitioners must advise patients that abortion counselling is available on request throughout the process of their abortion and afterwards if requested, at no charge to them.

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