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National Perinatal Pathology Service

Public Service, Pathology

Referral Expectations

Your maternity support team can discuss the options available for a perinatal post-mortem examination. If you consent to a perinatal post-mortem, your maternity support team will complete the referral process on your behalf, once you have signed the perinatal post-mortem consent form. When organising perinatal post-mortems, our service providers will always endeavour to provide a date and time that suits the needs of the whānau. 

Referral boundaries for the Service are not fixed and to ensure a streamlined, consistent service each hospital provides back up and support as required. In general, referrals to the Service are as follows:

  • Auckland DHB, provided through Auckland Hospital: Northland, Auckland, Counties Manukau, Waitematā, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti, Lakes, and Taranaki DHBs.
  • Capital & Coast DHB, provided through Wellington Hospital: MidCentral, Whanganui, Hawke’s Bay, Capital & Coast, Hutt Valley, Wairarapa and Nelson/Marlborough DHBs.
  • Canterbury DHB, provided through Christchurch Hospital: West Coast, Canterbury, and South Canterbury DHBs.
  • Southern DHB, provided through Dunedin Hospital: Southern DHB.

Perinatal post-mortems will be completed as soon as is possible following a referral, within 2 business days. The post-mortem report will be made available to your Clinical support team within 8 weeks of the investigation. In some cases the report may take longer to complete if specialist tests are required.

A post-mortem report contains complex medical language and will include a description of findings highlighting and/or describing any abnormalities and providing a diagnosis where appropriate. You will be asked to come into the hospital for an appointment and your obstetrician will talk through the results You can request a copy of the post-mortem report from your obstetrician once you have had a meeting to discuss the results. 

For health professionals, specific details relating to the referral process are located in the clinicians' section of Healthpoint. Please contact  if you require access.

This page was last updated at 12:16PM on October 4, 2021.