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

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 collect a RAT test from a pharmacy
  • 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.

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. For more information about visiting see our Visitors and family page.

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 very limited premium metered car parking in front of the Emergency Department outside the Waipapa building. This is the only public car parking available on-site, and we encourage using this only for emergencies and patient drop-off and pick-up. We recommend that drivers use different nearby car parks if needing to park longer than 30-60mins.

The first 30 minutes of parking is free (license plate must be entered to get 30 minutes free). After 30 minutes the following charges will apply:

  • 30-60 minutes: $7.50
  • From 60 minutes onwards: additional $5 per half hour or part thereof ($80 maximum charge for a 24-hour period).

There are also a number of P180 mobility parks in this area. These parks are free for permit holders.

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 on our Transport and parking page and on the CCC Car Parking Map.

Page last updated: 11 July 2023

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