03 379 0555

frequently asked questions

Due to a nationwide shortage of oestrogen (in the form of oestradiol) patches, we are having to work a little differently when prescribing hormone replacement therapy to patients.

If you are calling Oxford Women’s Health for a script, or via our website, please check with your pharmacy to make sure the patches are available in the dosage you require. If they don’t have the patches in stock, find another pharmacy that has them available and let us know, so we can send your script to them directly.

Gynaecologist Olivia Smart recently spoke about this issue with author Niki Bezzant, which you can read here

Dr Samantha Newman, known as the FemaleGP, also shared this leaflet with her followers with helpful information: More than one type of estradiol 

Frequently Asked Questions


What are your hours of work?

Our business hours are 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Can I contact you outside your hours of work?

Outside normal working hours the phone will be answered by an answering service who will try to contact your surgeon.  If your surgeon is not available, you will be advised to visit the nearest After-Hours Surgery or your local Emergency Department.

What are your contact details?

You can call us on 03 379 0555 or email us at info@oxfordwomenshealth.co.nz

Website Enquiries

We welcome your website enquiry.  Please note it may take a couple of days to respond so if your enquiry is urgent please phone us: 03 379 0555


Where are you based?

We are on level 1 of Forté Health, 132 Peterborough Street, Christchurch. Simply enter the building and go up one level via the lift or stairs. You will see our name on the sliding glass doors.

Is parking available?

Yes. We have free car parking available at Forté Health.


Do I need a referral?

We prefer patients to be referred by their GP but we do accept self-referrals for some of our Clinicians. Contact us to find out more.

Referral by a GP or other Health Practitioner

Your GP or health practitioner can request an appointment on your behalf by sending us a letter of referral. When we receive this, we will contact you to arrange an appointment.


How do I make an appointment?

Simply call 03 379 0555 and our staff will be happy to organise an appointment for you.

You can email us at info@oxfordwomenshealth.co.nz to request an appointment or via our website contact us.

overseas patients

The NZ health system may be a little different from your home country.

While we are happy to see you for any concern, you do not need to see a clinician in New Zealand for issues such as repeat prescriptions for birth control and other medications; pregnancy tests, the morning after pill, or cervical smear tests. You can see a GP or Family Planning and you can find medical centres that will see casual patients in most New Zealand cities.

If you are in Christchurch for only a few days, try and contact us before your arrival, if you are experiencing problems. While we will make every effort to see you at short notice, this is not always possible. We offer clinics in other towns such as Queenstown and Invercargill but, again, these can fill up quickly and are not available on all days.

When you attend an appointment at our clinic, please be aware that there might be additional charges for blood tests or ultrasounds from the provider depending on the type of visa you hold.

We usually do not invoice your travel insurance directly unless arrangements have been made prior to your visit here and will ask you to setlle your account at the time of your consultation.

If you would like to make an appointment to see one of our clinicians, call our friendly team at 03 379 0555

You can also email us at info@oxfordwomenshealth.co.nz to request an appointment or via our website contact us.

How do I cancel or reschedule my appointment?

If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment please phone us on 03 379 0555. Please be aware that we ask you to provide at least 48 hours’ notice when cancelling or rescheduling appointments. If you give less than 48 hours’ notice, 50% of your appointment fee will be charged. If no notice is given, the full appointment cost will be applied.

What can I expect at my first appointment?

When you arrive at reception you will be asked to fill in a Patient Registration form if you have not completed one online. This will take approximately 10 minutes to complete so we ask that you arrive early to allow for this.

A clinical examination may be offered as part of your appointment.  A nurse chaperone is available.  You can decline an examination although this may affect the quality of your evaluation.

Can I bring someone with me?

Yes, you are most welcome to bring someone to your appointment.

Our nursing staff are also very happy to be with you at any time during the examination, if you would like them to be there.

A chaperone is also available upon request for either the entire consultation or just the examination.

Note that we follow Ministry of Health guidelines regarding support people.


What types of surgery do you specialise in?

We offer a full range of gynaecological procedures. We also specialise in minimally invasive (key hole) surgery and general surgery.

I'm reluctant to have surgery. What are my options?

When it comes to your treatment options, you are in charge. Your clinical team will provide all the information you need to make an informed decision.

If I need surgery, where will it be performed?

Depending on what's required, if your surgery is in Christchurch it may be performed at Forté Health, St George's Hospital or Southern Cross Hospital. The surgery and hospital requirements will be discussed with you. Where appropriate, or preferred, a referral from our consultants to a public hospital will be arranged for you.

Note we also provide surgery at Churchill Hospital Blenheim,      Southern Cross Central Lakes Hospital, Queenstown and at       Southern Cross Hospital in Invercargill.


How much will my appointment cost?

Costs for consultations vary. We recommend you contact us to discuss this.

What is the payment process if I have private health insurance?

If your consultation is covered by an insurance company, we will provide you with an invoice before you leave the clinic. We ask that you forward this promptly to your insurance company. Please note we do not send invoices directly to insurance companies. You (the policy/account holder) are liable for payment of all invoices.

We are a Southern Cross Affiliated Provider for gynaecological consultations and rooms based procedures. Our Reception team will process these on your behalf.

Note: for gynaecological surgery invoices and our Allied Health Professionals provider invoices, you will need to submit these directly to your health insurer.

What is the payment process if I don't have private health insurance?

If your consultation is not covered by your insurance company, payment is required at the time of consultation. You can pay by EFTPOS, Visa or MasterCard. If you have any concerns regarding payment of your account, please contact us.


I have health insurance. Will I be covered?

Insurance companies offer different options in terms of cover for private health care services. It is up to the policyholder to check with their insurance company about what their policy covers. It is always a good idea to get prior approval before proceeding with a consultation and/or treatment.

(Note: as OWH is an Affiliated Provider for Southern Cross, we process your consultation fee prior to your appointment)

What is the process if I am covered by ACC?

If your treatment is covered by ACC, your clinician will seek approval for surgery on your behalf. You will need to provide your specialist's administrative staff with your claim number and the name of your ACC Case Manager as we require a purchase order number before proceeding.

Once approved, you will receive a confirmation letter from ACC. Your appointment will then be booked. Following your procedure or surgery, the hospital will submit your account to ACC.

If your procedure or surgery is only partially funded by ACC, you will have to pay a portion of the account yourself. This part-payment may be covered by your insurance policy (if you have one).

Insurance cover for non-affiliated providers

If you have insurance with a company other than Southern Cross, payment will be required on the day of the consultation and the receipt submitted to the company in order to be reimbursed.  Prior approval of surgical costs will be required.

A Southern Cross "Affiliated Provider" is a surgeon, clinician and/or facility that has a contract with Southern Cross to provide Southern Cross members with specific health services at agreed prices. You may want to call Southern Cross on 0800 800 181 to confirm whether your procedure is covered and if any conditions will apply. Please contact us for further information if your procedure is not covered by insurance.

My insurance company wants to know how much my treatment will cost. How do I go about getting this information?

Estimated costs for your procedure or surgery can be provided by your clinician so you can liaise with your insurance company.

What if I don't have private health insurance or ACC cover?

In the situation you don't have approved funding from your insurance company or ACC you may be required to make a payment in advance. If this is the case our Finance Manager will contact you prior to your admission so that arrangements can be discussed and made.


How much will it cost?

Costs for hospital procedures and surgeries vary. Your surgeon will provide an estimated cost. An estimate should be obtained for the following, as each will be invoiced separately:

  • Surgeon's fee
  • Anaesthetist's fee (if applicable)
  • Hospital charges

What is the payment process if I am covered by ACC?

If your treatment is covered by ACC, your clinician will seek approval for surgery on your behalf. You will need to provide your clinician's administrative staff with your claim number and the name of your ACC Case Manager. Once approved, you will receive a confirmation letter from ACC. Your admission will then be booked and following your procedure or surgery, the hospital will submit your account to ACC. If your procedure or surgery is only partially funded by ACC, you will be required to pay a portion of the account yourself. This part-payment may be covered by your insurance policy (if you have one).


What is the cost of antenatal care?

Call us on 03 379 0555 to get a copy of our antenatal billing structure. You are also welcome to discuss the options with one of our team.

Can you recommend a midwife?

Yes. We have a list of midwives who our obstetricians and gynaecologists have worked with and are happy to recommend.

Am I able to attend a gynaecological appointment if I have my period?

It's a good idea to check with our nursing staff as this depends on the reason for your appointment. A smear can be taken when you have a period and a pelvic examination can be performed if necessary or urgent. Sometimes it's a good idea to visit us to discuss your problem even if you do have a period. You may need to return once the period has finished, if you require an examination.

How often do I need a smear?

Women normally have their first smear at the age of 20. Your second smear should be a year later at the age of 21. If both smears are normal, it is recommended to have a smear every three years after that up to the age of 69. It's always best to follow the advice given to you by your doctor. If in doubt, feel free to ask our nursing staff.

What if my smear is abnormal?

It is not unusual to receive an abnormal smear result. Your clinician may suggest you have a colposcopy.

This is a simple procedure where the affected section of your cervix is reviewed via a colposcope and may be biopsied.

How do I know if I am going through menopause?

Women experience menopause around the age of 51. Symptoms include night sweats, hot flushes, nervousness, irritability, sleep disturbance, loss of libido and loss of self confidence. These can start to become an issue up to four or five years before menopause. The term "menopause" actually means "the last period". If you start experiencing some of the above symptoms then it is likely that you are going through menopause. If you are under 45 and concerned about early menopause, it is a good idea to discuss this with your GP or one of our Menopause GP's in the first instance.

What maternity facilities are available in Christchurch?

Appointments for private obstetric care are held at our clinic at Forté Health and deliveries are carried out at Christchurch Women's Hospital. Our obstetricians work with a number of midwives, who they can recommend. If you are not a New Zealand resident, you will need to pay additional hospital, scan, ultrasound and blood test costs during your pregnancy and delivery.

How long should it take to get pregnant?

Women in their early 20s are generally more fertile than women in their late 30s. Seventy per cent of women in their early 20s will conceive within six months of undertaking contraception-free intercourse. For women in their late 30s the figure is more like 40 per cent. Generally, we encourage couples to seek professional help if they have been trying to conceive without success for 12 months, or six months if the woman is over the age of 35. If you are worried that something isn't right, give yourself some peace of mind by finding out. If you or your partner have any concerns about your general health then it's a good idea to make an appointment with your GP or a specialist.

Remember to start taking folic acid a month before trying to conceive (you can buy this over the counter from your local pharmacy) and eat a healthy diet. You should also limit your alcohol intake and stop smoking/vaping.

I am worried that I'm not getting pregnant

We offer a cycle monitoring service run by our experienced fertility nurses what we offer.


Can endometriosis be removed and cured?

Yes. An estimated 20 per cent of women will require repeat surgery for endometriosis, particularly younger women as sometimes endometriosis may continue to develop with age. Most women only need one operation.

I am leaking urine, what help is available?

Women should do pelvic floor exercises regularly - whether they leak or not. Feel free to contact our physiotherapist for an instruction sheet or to book an appointment. Pelvic floor exercises may be all that is required to prevent leakage. If you have already experienced menopause, vaginal oestrogen cream should also be used twice weekly. This can have quite a dramatic effect on improving leakage. It can also improve lubrication and arousal during intercourse. If the above doesn't work, surgery or vaginal pessaries may be an option for you. To book a consultation with one of our specialists, contact us.

How do I find out about Mirena?

Mirena is a prescription medicine that offers contraception and management of painful and heavy periods.  It is fitted into your uterus. Visit mirena.co.nz for more information. It's a good idea to first talk to your GP as they may have material they can give you. They may be able to fit Mirena. You are also welcome to ask our nursing staff about Mirena. If your enquiry is more complex, please contact us to make an appointment with one of our gynaecologists.

Do I need to worry about fibroids?

Fibroids are benign tumours in the uterus. They are very common but most are small. By the time a woman reaches the age of 35, she has a 30 per cent chance of having one or more fibroids. Most of these would be less than two centimetres in size and may never cause any problems at all. In fact many are only detected when a pelvic ultrasound scan is performed for another reason. If fibroids become large or if they lie just under the surface of the lining of the uterus, then they may be associated with painful cramps and/or heavy bleeding. If fibroids grow larger than the size of a grapefruit, they can put pressure on other organs such as the bladder or rectum and may require surgical intervention.