Hospital visitors don’t need a Vaccine Pass, but must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for visiting guidelines, COVID-19 tests current case numbers in regions of Canterbury and care in the community advice. See for info about vaccinations.

We are at ORANGE according to the NZ COVID-19 Protection Framework

Last updated:
19 April 2022

For visitors to all facilities effective from Tuesday 19 April 2022

With the change to the ORANGE Traffic Light setting, Canterbury DHB is easing its visitor policy in recognition of the fact we have passed the peak of the current Omicron outbreak and case numbers are slowly reducing.

The following visitor restrictions are now in place for all Canterbury DHB hospitals and health facilities:

  • One adult visitor may be accompanied by no more than one child over the age of 12 per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.  No children under 12 and those 12 and over must be accompanied by an adult and wear a medical mask.
  • Visitors or support people should not visit our facilities if they are unwell.
  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all Canterbury DHB sites and will be provided if people don’t have them.
  • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

By adhering to these conditions, you help keep our patients, staff, other visitors and yourself safe. We 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.

Exceptions to the ‘one visitor’ policy

  • Exceptions can apply in some circumstances (ie more than one visitor) where a trusted whānau member provides assistance, reassurance and other support for therapeutic care or on compassionate grounds – please talk to the ward’s Charge Nurse to discuss this before you come to hospital to visit. For whānau with an essential support role as a Partner in Care – please check with the ward’s Charge Nurse before you come to hospital to visit
  • People attending Christchurch ED or Ashburton AAU can have one support person with them
  • Women in labour and in the birthing suite can have two support people, and women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Womens Hospital and other maternity units. Only one support person can be with each woman in the maternity ward, and one support person for maternity clinic appointments, no children are allowed to visit.
  • Parents/caregivers can be with their baby in NICU.
  • Parents/caregivers are able to be with their child in hospital (Except Children’s Haematology and Oncology Day patients where only one parent or caregiver is permitted, following a supervised negative RAT result)
  • Children who are inpatients, one other visitor (other than a parent or caregiver) is able to visit in consultation with the nurse in charge.
  • People requiring support when attending an appointment can have one support person. Please let the relevant service know if you need this so they are able to accommodate your request.

Exceptions for people with disabilities

An exception will be made for people with disabilities who are in hospital or have to attend an outpatient appointment – where they need a support person to access health services. For example, a sign language interpreter, support person for someone with a learning disability, or someone to assist with mobility. The support person is in addition to the one permitted visitor.

Face covering exemption cards

The Exemptions Team at the Ministry of Health is now responsible for processing requests for Face Covering Communication Cards.

Updated information about mask wearing, and how to request an exemption card can now be found here. People unable to request an exemption card online can call 0800 28 29 26 and select option 2, or text 8988

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

More COVID-19 information

Emergency Department at Christchurch Hospital

Patients with suspected COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

  • If you suspect you may have COVID-19 with mild symptoms and want a test: please be aware that the ED is not a testing station, please go to a community testing centre.
  • If you require emergency care: come to the Emergency Department entrance for your initial assessment. After your assessment you will be directed where to go next.
  • As we expect large numbers of patients please be aware that the wait to be seen may be longer than normal.

 NOTE//  Due to COVID-19, patients are currently only allowed one support person or visitor at a time.

For more details about what to do when visiting please see our COVID-19 page.

Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department (ED) is open for emergency and urgent serious medical issues 24/7.

The Emergency Department is clearly signposted on Christchurch hospital street entrance signs and has a separate external entrance at the front of Christchurch Hospital's Waipapa building

COVID-19 screening questions: When you visit one of our facilities or access healthcare in the community in Canterbury, you will be asked a few additional screening questions as a measure to prevent the spread of infection. The kind of questions you may be asked are whether you have any respiratory symptoms consistent with COVID-19 – we may, for example, direct people with respiratory illness to a different ‘stream’ within our facilities to keep them separate from everyone else. We may also ask if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19 – simply to allow us the opportunity to let you know where you can get a vaccination.

You will first be seen by an experienced emergency nurse, who will assess how urgent your condition is and how quickly you will need to be seen. You will then be seen by a clerical officer to register, this may occur in the main entrance or in one of the treatment areas.

If you are feeling worse while you are waiting, please speak to the nurse straightaway. 

  • Patients are not seen on a first-come first-served basis. This is because very ill or injured patients will always be seen first, whatever the order in which you arrive.
  • Other patients may also go through before you. They may have been referred by their GP to a different team (such as General Surgery) and / or they may be going to another area for their assessment and treatment, such as children going to the Children’s Acute Assessment or orthopaedic care in the Acute Care area.
  • Children are treated as quickly as possible – ahead of patients with non-urgent conditions. Please look after your children at all times. Do not leave them unattended, even in the play area.
  • Depending on your condition, you will go to one of several areas of the Emergency Department.

An Associate Clinical Nurse Manager (ACNM) and a senior doctor (Consultant or Registrar) are in charge of the department 24 hours a day.

If you are a patient please do not eat or drink anything until you check with the nurse or doctor.

Visitor refreshments may be obtained from the vending machines in the waiting room or the coffee shop in the main entrance. There are drinking water fountains in each area.

There are toilets for patients and visitors located all around the department.

There is no baby change in the waiting room toilet. There is one in the Acute Care area, another in the corridor between ED Radiology and ED Observation opposite the Acute Care entrance, and a third in the Waipapa foyer toilets.

More and more staff documentation and information are now digital. Also, more staff now receive referrals by phone rather than pagers. As a result, lots of staff are regularly checking or answering their phones when on duty.

We have onsite security staff. There are also video cameras in all the main public patient areas. 

 NOTE//  Violent behaviour (verbal or physical) that threatens patients or staff will not be tolerated.


We will take as much care as possible with your clothes and valuables. We ask that you also take responsibility.

 TIP//  Do not leave bags or anything of value unattended.


Non-residents with no reciprocal New Zealand healthcare agreement are asked to pay at registration. Visitors to New Zealand are able to claim back healthcare costs using travel insurance.

More information about paying for your health care can be found in the Patients and Visitors section of this website.

 NOTE//  To protect the privacy of other patients, only 2 visitors may be with you at any time.  UPDATED//  Due to COVID-19 patients are currently only allowed one support person or visitor at a time, for more information see our detailed COVID-19 restrictions.

This ensures equity (fairness) between all patients. If you have come with a larger whānau or support group, please do not be offended if they are asked to take it in turns to sit with you.

If you are a visitor, please use hand gel on entering and leaving the emergency department, and after touching people or surfaces, and if you have a cough or cold please consider not entering the department – if you need to stay please wear a face‑mask.


Information regarding your ED visit will be sent to your family doctor. Please advise the staff if you DO NOT wish this.

If you have a Shared Care Plan such as an Acute Care Plan or an Advanced Care Plan please feel free to tell us of it. Sometimes we may develop an Acute Care Plan for you, and you may add to it with your family doctor.

Christchurch Hospital is a major teaching hospital for many health professionals. Students and medics from the ambulance service and armed forces are supervised by the ED staff.

Local, national, and international research and post-graduate studies are also carried out here. You may be asked to participate. This is voluntary and occurs only with your consent. Please let staff know if you are uncomfortable with any aspect of this.


We are committed to providing quality healthcare and positive patient experiences. What you think about the care you receive is important to us: what we are doing well and where we can improve. If you have any concerns:

  • You can talk to your nurse or doctor, or the nurse / doctor in charge while you are still here.
  • Or, you can write to either the Emergency Department Clinical Director or Nurse Manager, or the Customer Services Manager, at Christchurch Hospital, Private Bag 4710, Christchurch, 8140.

The blue Customer Response boxes can be used for any feedback. These are available in key areas of the hospital including the ED Waiting Room. You can also provide feedback by using the website feedback form.

You may be invited to participate in a national Inpatient Experience Survey via a link in a text message or an email, or you may be given a hard copy of the survey. Your email address will only be used for the purpose of emailing you the survey if you are admitted overnight. If you use email, please provide your email address to one of the clerical officers or drop it (with your full name and date of birth) into one of the blue Customer Response Boxes.

There is a drop-off area directly outside the Emergency Department entrance for patients, and there is very limited metered parking on-site in front of the Waipapa building. We encourage that this parking is only used for emergencies and drop-off and pick-up. The first 30 minutes of parking is free. After 30 minutes premium car parking charges apply.

We recommend that you use the nearest off-site car parking, this is located on Oxford Terrace, Riccarton Avenue, Rolleston Avenue, Cambridge Terrace, and Deans Avenue. You can also use nearby CCC public car parks.

More parking options are listed at CDHB Transport and parking

Page last updated: 26 January 2022

Is this page useful?