All hospital visitors are recommended to wear a medical face mask. Expand this message for information about visiting hospital.

Last updated:
13 March 2023

Some visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury hospitals and health facilities remain in place, but we have relaxed others.

There is still a heightened risk to vulnerable people in hospital and so we recommend all people wear a mask when visiting any of our facilities and follow other advice designed to keep patients, staff and  visitors safe.

To keep everybody safe:

  • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell. Do not visit if you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and haven’t completed your isolation period.
  • Patients may have more than one visitor, except in some situations such as multi-bed rooms where it can cause overcrowding.
  • Surgical/medical masks are recommended to be worn at all sites. Masks will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • For Specialist Mental Health Services everyone is strongly encouraged to wear a face mask in all inpatient areas and areas where consumers are receiving care (i.e. community appointments, home-visits, transporting people). Discretion may be applied in cases where masks impair your ability to communicate effectively.
  • Visitors must not eat or drink in multibed rooms because of the increased risk when multiple people remove their face mask in the same space.
  • Hand sanitiser is available and must be used.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as our staff work hard to protect and care for some of the most vulnerable in our community.

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • People can visit patients who have COVID-19 but they must wear an N95 mask – this will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, Facetime, Zoom, WhatsApp etc where visits aren’t possible.

All of our Hospitals

Visiting hours for our hospitals have returned to pre COVID-19 hours with the exception of Christchurch Women’s Hospital.

All visitors are recommended to wear a medical face mask.

Parents/caregivers are able to be with their child in hospital and visitors are now allowed, except for the Children’s Haematology and Oncology Day stay where just one parent/caregiver is able to attend their appointment with their child. Exceptions by special arrangement only.

Patients and visitors should also read the additional more detailed visiting guidelines for each specific hospital.

More COVID-19 information

Disability Steering Group (DSG)

The purpose of this group is to ensure people with disabilities in the Canterbury and West Coast districts have the health services they need, and feel included in decisions about their health.

The Disability Steering Group (DSG) has been selected to ensure the right balance of representation and has a wide range of relevant knowledge and expertise or experience living with a disability.

The DSG has the Canterbury and West Coast Health Disability Action Plan (PDF, 600KB) as the focus for its work. The Plan identifies short-term goals to be achieved in the first two years, and longer-term goals over the ten year lifespan of the Plan.

Refreshing the Plan, 3 years in

The ten-year Canterbury and West Coast Heath Disability Action Plan (PDF, 600KB) was launched in July 2016 after extensive consultation and at that time it outlined the priorities for our health system for the first two years, with the intention of reviewing priorities every two years for the life of the Plan. During August 2019 and on behalf of the Disability Steering Group, the DHB organised a series of five open, public hui to provide opportunities for the community to have input into what the next priority actions should be. People could also provide input online or by phone.

Public feedback and suggestions were collated and added to input from disability sector shareholders and advocates. It has since been presented to a new Disability Steering Group membership, also refreshed for the start of 2020. As at Jan/Feb 2020 the Disability Steering Group is working on ratifying those immediate priorities and updating the Plan accordingly.

Staying in touch

The DSG meets approximately monthly. The main points discussed, the advice it provides and the work it instigates are all recorded as key messages. The key messages are public, and are also sent by email to identified stakeholders and any person that has asked to go on the mailing list.

Key messages can be viewed in the document library.

If you would like to be added to the mailing list or provide general feedback on the work of the DSG or make suggestions please email

It is hoped that over time the DSG can increase engagement and further exchange ideas and views with the wider community – but in particular, those who experience disability, have someone in their whānau who does, or work within the disability sector and/or in health.

Canterbury and West Coast Health Disability Action Plan Video

Featuring people with lived experience of disability

Note: If you are using an older browser and cannot see the video above, it can be viewed on instead.

Video Transcript

[Video length: 6:43 minutes]

[Music plays]

[Title: Canterbury and West Coast District Health Disability Action Plan: Insights from those with lived experience of disability]

[Margaret Woollett, retired teacher] So that that will read me anything on the screen and this is just my lifeline.

This little machine is called a CCTV. I would like a health system, in fact, I would say we’re probably well on the way to having that where every person is treated as an individual and with respect. I have a degenerative disease of the retina called retinitis Pigmentosa.

Generally I’m okay in a physical environment that I know really well, but anywhere else, particularly with steps, I have no depth perception going down.

I think the fact that I don’t look as if I have a disability means that people don’t realise how severe it is. However, I always wear my identification that I am a vision impaired person.

And I reached the point where I don’t feel that I need to apologise for it. For example, I would always say, look I’m very sorry, I can’t see to fill this form. And could you please help me with it? Now, I like to say, I’m vision impaired, I will need some help with this form. 99% of the time I’ve been treated with a great deal of respect and care.

I can remember only one occasion that I was in hospital and I was made to feel quite embarrassed and humiliated for asking for help. It was really a very tiresome job for this person to have to help me.

The health system to me should be one that makes me feel safe, makes me feel listened to, makes me feel that the people that are caring for me are doing a thorough as thorough and his professional job as they possibly can.

And never to feel in any way discriminated against.

I’ve done a lot artwork in my life, but just haven’t got the eye-sight, so I make the features out of felt. And if I want to add any details I paint with my finger.

Have a good day. Don’t be shy you have to give me a kiss. I am absolutely convinced after having our daughter in a wheelchair for months that every disabled toilet was made by an able-bodied male.

You leave your modesty at the door. You still need to be treated with the dignity and respect that anybody deserves.

[Title: Keriann and Shannon’s Story]

[Irene Andrell] Well our girls are Shannon and she’ll be 23 this year. Keriann’s turning 21 this year. And they’ve had a pretty good life. They’re both a girls have Microcephaly and they also have Global Developmental Delay and they’re both non-verbal.

Shannen and his epilepsy and she also has vision impairment as well. And they both have traits of autism.

They have you know, one-on-one caregivers that with them…

[Kerry Andrell] Communicating with the girls through eye contact, and through facial expressions. So, you know by the eyes if they’re in pain or or if they are frowning, if they’ve got a headache of something.

[Irene Andrell] What we need as families is for our young people and individuals with disabilities is, to be to be listened to. This probably the first thing, and the other thing is if something comes up, you know to be able to be seen in a timely manner.

For a specialist to actually take the time, to really, you know, listen to what we need, and what are girls need. And what we think might be happening.

I think the health system should make us feel first and foremost that that we’re listened to and supported with the different things that we need with the girls.

If we could change anything about the health system, it would be the waiting lists.

[Title: Thanks to Kerry, Irene, Keriann, Shannen and carers Kerry Hall and Hannah Bailey]

[Ben Lucas, Disability Support Advisory Committee member and New Zealand chef de mission for the Rio Paralympics] After 26 years in a wheelchair it’s wonderful to have been invited to take part in the consultation process and the build of such a large brand new facility.

Independence is about being able to turn the lights on and off yourself. The simple things. Being up to wash your hands. And dry your hands properly. Being able to access the bathrooms properly. And also to have enough space to move around your bed.

So that’s very very important for independence. In the last census. There was one in five people in New Zealand who identified with having a disability. So for the CDHB to recognise this and to implement, what is quite an extensive disability action plan.

Is going to mean that the people of Canterbury who do have a disability, are going to have first class service from their District Health Board. That means that they will be taken into account and everything at the DHB plans for in the future.

Often your seat to floor height is higher and so you can’t get under a standard table. So by this being adjustable means you can get underneath it. The other thing is with some wheelchairs are tilt in space.

And so they’re permanently tilted, which means your knees are high. Which means you can get in nice and low and get in nice and close for having a meal. This is fantastic. Awesome. Well, done DHB!

This is such a beautiful spot. To be able to wheel out here without thinking about it. It’s so fantastic to be heard at our accessibility message.

[Music plays]

[Credits: Ben Lucas is the Chef de Mission for New Zealand’s Paralympic team that heads to Rio in September. He was New Zealand’s team captain and flag bearer in both the Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 Paralympic games.

Ben is a member of the Canterbury District Health Board Disability Support Advisory Committee, and has been active in the development of the Disability Strategy Action Plan. He provided invaluable consumer feedback during the design stage of the new Burwood Hospital.]

The video is in three parts and features people or families talking about their experiences and what they want from their health system.

The video opens with retired Greymouth school teacher Margaret Woollett – remember, this is a TransAlpine action plan that aims to support disabled people and their family/whānau on both the West Coast and in Canterbury.

The second part features the Andrell family of Burwood (who are here with us at the launch).

The final part of the video features Disability Support Advisory Committee member Ben Lucas who is the chef de mission for the Rio Paralympics and who provided input on the redevelopment of Burwood Hospital.

Page last updated: 28 February 2023

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