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.

Kia whakahaumaru te whānau, me ngā iwi katoa – this is 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 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

Diabetes Service

The Diabetes Service provides a community and an outpatient consultation service for patients on referral from general practitioners and other health professionals. It provides ongoing surveillance of diabetes management and complications status for selected patients who are at higher risk of developing diabetes complications.

The Service also provides medical and diabetes nurse educator consultation services to the hospital wards.

An acute intervention service is provided to prevent hospital admissions by having a diabetes physician on call by cell-phone 24 hours a day available to general practitioners.

Diabetes is a disorder much influenced by lifestyle. This requires a strong focus on patient education to achieve behavioral changes.

The Diabetes Service has a multi-disciplinary team consisting of Diabetes Physicians, Diabetes Nurse Educators and Nurse Specialists, Dietitians, Psychologists, Social Worker, Podiatrists, Māori Diabetes Nurse Specialist and Health Worker, a Pacific Island Diabetes Nurse Specialist and a Diabetes Child and Youth Nurse​.

The Diabetes Service caters for people with diabetes over the age of 15 years within the Canterbury District Health Board area.

The Clinical Director is Dr Catherine Conway and Charge Nurse Manager is Christine Baxter.

Diabetes can affect anyone at any age.

Diabetes is a metabolic condition where the glucose in the bloodstream is too high. Metabolism is the process for our bodies to use digested food for energy and growth. When we eat carbohydrate foods these foods are digested in the stomach and the glucose from the foods enters our bloodstream.

Glucose is the principal source of fuel for our body.

An organ called the pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin. After eating, the pancreas automatically releases an adequate quantity of insulin, which enables the glucose in our bloodstream to enter the cells. This action lowers the blood glucose level and assists to regulate the amount of glucose in our blood.

A person with diabetes has a condition in which the quantity of glucose in the blood is too high (hyperglycemia). This is because the body does not produce enough insulin, or produces no insulin, or has cells that do not respond properly to the insulin the pancreas produces.

Excess blood glucose is eventually excreted out of the body in the urine. Even though the blood has adequate glucose, the cells are not receiving the glucose, which is essential for the body's energy and growth requirements.

Diabetes is a potentially life threatening condition if not managed well.

There are 4 main types of Diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes – The pancreas produces no insulin at all. A person with Type 1 diabetes is reliant on daily insulin injections for life. it is important to control it the best you can, because at present, there is no cure.

Type 2 Diabetes - The pancreas is making some insulin, but not enough for daily needs. Diet, exercise, education and other lifestyle factors are critical to self-managing Type 2 diabetes.
Sometimes oral medication or insulin is also required.

Gestational Diabetes - diabetes that occurs during pregnancy but is not there after the pregnancy. It may recur with subsequent pregnancies and puts the person at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes which is secondary to other medical conditions, or to certain medications

Any of these types of diabetes can cause serious health problems if the blood sugars are not "controlled" i.e. kept as normal as possible. Potential problems include:

  • Eye damage, called "retinopathy" which can eventually lead to blindness if not treated
  • Kidney damage eventually leading to renal failure and the need for dialysis
  • Foot problems including ulcers, painful feet and, sometimes, amputation
  • Premature heart attacks and strokes.

The good news is that these problems can be largely avoided or delayed by maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, having regular checks of the eyes, kidneys, and feet and for heart risk factors. There are effective treatments for many of these problems if detected early.

Access to the Diabetes services is by referral only through a medical practitioner or other health professional.

You may discuss with your GP or practice nurse whether it would be appropriate for you to be referred to the Diabetes Centre.

If you are a hospital inpatient, your doctor may ask for you to be seen by the diabetes team.

Access is free of charge to New Zealand citizens or those who have obtained permanent residence and are entitled to publicly funded healthcare. Non-residents may be required to pay for their healthcare. ​

What is a diabetes nurse?

We are registered nurses who have a special interest in diabetes and who have done post-graduate study to increase our knowledge and skills.

The nurses who work at the Diabetes Service are registered with the New Zealand Nursing Organisation. Services we provide for people with diabetes:

Individual appointments - we teach people who have diabetes and their families:

  1. We assess your needs and help you come up with a plan to meet your needs.
  2. We teach you how to test your blood glucose levels and how to use the results to improve your diabetes control.
  3. We teach you how to manage your diabetes using lifestyle changes and tablets or insulin injections.

4.We work with you to reduce your risk of complications and to get the best health outcomes you are capable of achieving.

Group sessions in conjunction with other members of the multidisciplinary team.

Telephone/Email Follow-up - you are able to contact the diabetes nurses between appointments via phone and email to discuss your blood glucose levels and medication adjustment or any concerns you may have. Your nurse can often answer questions or help you adjust medication in this manner without the need for a visit.

Community Diabetes Nursing Services

The Community Diabetes Nurse Specialists (CDNS) are available to general practice teams to:

  • assist with education and management of newly diagnosed patients with Type 2 diabetes.
  • work with practices to start insulin for those with Type 2 diabetes.
  • help practice teams to work with patients who are hard to reach or manage.
  • run education sessions for general practice teams on diabetes related topics.
  • assist with increasing the number of Diabetes Annual Checks.

What is a diabetes dietitian?

A Dietitian is a registered health professional who meets standards of professionalism required by the NZ Dietitians Board under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act HPCA Act (2003). A Dietitian has an undergraduate science degree in human nutrition, as well as a post-graduate diploma in Dietetics.

They are trained in the science of nutrition and diet therapy, qualified to work in areas that require nutritional assessment & counselling. Dietitians use effective nutritional management strategies, based upon current scientific evidence, to help individuals or groups to improve their health. (Ref dietitians NZ).

Services we provide for people with diabetes:

  • One to one individual appointments; Healthy eating, carbohydrate counting, weight reduction, label reading, gluten free diet, nutrition and ​managing insulin, nutrition and wound healing, improving heart health.
  • Group sessions in conjunction with other members of the multidisciplinary team.

How can I contact the dietitians?

Discuss with your GP or practice nurse whether it would be appropriate for you to be referred to the Diabetes Centre for specialist Dietetic advice regarding your diabetes.

What is a psychologist?

Psychologists are registered with the New Zealand Psychologists Board and have had at least seven years of intensive university education. They've learned how to listen to and understand people's problems, and how to help people make changes in their lives.

Services we provide for people with diabetes:

Why might I choose to see a clinical psychologist at the diabetes centre?

People will often be referred to see a psychologist at the Diabetes Centre when their diabetes is affecting or causing a mental health problem, or when they have an existing mental health problem that is now impacting on their management of their diabetes. Examples of the sorts of areas that psychologists may be able to help with are:

  • Adjusting to having diabetes
  • Difficulty in making the changes necessary to stay well
  • Difficulty managing anger or other emotions related to your health
  • Depression, sadness, and grief
  • Anxiety, worries, panic, and phobias
  • Eating difficulties
  • Difficulty coping with the complications of diabetes
  • Family, relationship, or interpersonal problems
  • Life stress or changes

Please note, given the high demands on this service psychologists at the Diabetes Centre are not able to offer treatment for mental health problems which are unrelated to, or not significantly impacting on, diabetes management.

At what stage is it best to see a psychologist?

From our experience, the sooner you are aware you have a problem, the least time it takes to work through the problem. If you are struggling to manage your difficulties with your current support network talk with your diabetes clinician about whether a referral to the diabetes psychologists is appropriate.

Who is available here?

There are two part time Psychologists at the Centre.

How can I access psychology at the Diabetes Centre?

During an appointment at the Diabetes Center the person you are seeing may suggest a referral if there are problems or difficulties affecting your diabetes management. If you are uncertain about whether it would be helpful to a clinical psychologist, talk to your diabetes clinician to discuss this.

Given the high demand for this service, there is often a waiting list to see a psychologist. Your diabetes clinician will refer you to the diabetes psychologists who will place you on a waitlist if your referral is accepted. You will then be notified of your appointment time when it is your turn for assessment and treatment. If you believe your mental health care is urgent please talk to your GP, or for crisis intervention, please contact the Crisis Resolution team on 0800 920 092

What is a diabetes podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a health professional specialising in foot care; they are trained to deal with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of medical and surgical conditions of the feet and lower limbs. A Diabetes Podiatrist has further experience in active foot disease related to people with diabetes

The podiatrists who work at the Diabetes Service are registered with the The Podiatrist Board of New Zealand.

Services we provide for people with diabetes:

At the Diabetes Centre, the podiatrists only see patients who have diabetes and a foot ulcer. An extensive assessment is carried at the first appointment and a management plan put in place to resolve their active foot problem, which may include other members of the multidisciplinary team.

How can I be Referred?

In the first instance see your GP or Health Professional to discuss whether it is appropriate to be referred to a Diabetes Podiatrist in the active foot disease clinic, or a Community Podiatrist.

Who is available here?

There are three podiatrists available at the Diabetes Centre; Karyn Ballance, Catherine McHerron & Stephen Percival.

The joint services are staffed by a paediatric or adolescent Nurse Specialist, Field Nurse, Child and Youth Nurse, paediatric dietitian, and psychologist from the child & family services. Their role includes:

  • Education for newly diagnosed children, adolescents and their families
  • Support for newly diagnosed children and their families, including home visits
  • Camping and holiday programmes
  • Classroom and staff education
  • Community awareness
  • Education evenings
  • Adolescent/paediatric clinics
  • Support for teens via phone, appointments and school clinics

The Pacific Island Nurse Specialist (Lupe Tu'ulua) works to provide the following

  • Support, advice and follow-up at Pacific Island Clinics
  • Community group education
  • Diabetes awareness and screening

If you need more information please contact:

Phone: 03 364 0860

Māori Diabetes Nurse Specialist (Debbie Rawiri) is available for:

  • Advice
  • Information
  • Māori Type 2 classes
  • One-one appointments for specialist education and support with the Nurse for whanau who have diabetes
  • Support with managing lifestyle changes with the goal of improved diabetes outcomes
  • Available to attend community based health days to raise awareness of diabetes

For more information contact the Diabetes Centre. Phone: 03 364 0860

  • Type two diabetes workshop
  • Insulin classes for people with Type 2 diabetes who use insulin injections
  • Advance Course for people with Type 1 diabetes
  • Insulin Pump Course for people with Type 1 diabetes transferring from injections to an insulin pump.
  • (Classes are run in conjunction with dietitians, nurses and doctors)

Page last updated: 20 January 2023

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