Hospital visitors don’t need a COVID-19 Vaccine Pass, but do need to scan in. See our COVID-19 page for general COVID-19 advice, detailed hospital visiting guidelines and COVID-19 tests. See for info on vaccinations.

Emergency Department at Christchurch Hospital

Delta Level 2 visitor restrictions effective from Thursday 4 November until further notice

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.

Please arrive early for your appointment, be patient and answer the questions, as they help us ensure you get the right care in the right place. Remember, we are here to help.

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

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 is used for emergencies and drop-off and pick-up only. The first 30 minutes of parking is free. After 30 minutes charges apply.

The nearest off-site car parking is located on Oxford Terrace, Riccarton Avenue, Rolleston Avenue, Cambridge Terrace, and Deans Avenue. You can also use nearby public car parks.

The new Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department entrance in the Waipapa building

The new Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department entrance in the Waipapa building

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 ED. There is an electronic sign in the waiting room showing how busy each area is.

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 located all around the department. Baby-change facilities are available in the waiting room toilet.

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 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.

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.

Page last updated: 4 November 2021

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