ORANGE

Hospital visiting guidelines updated 20 July 2022: Hospital visitors must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for detailed information about hospital visiting guidelines, COVID-19 tests and care in the community advice. See www.vaccinatecanterburywestcoast.nz for information about vaccinations.

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

Last updated:
20 July 2022

Mask exemptions accepted for people seeking treatment
Any member of the public with a mask exemption is welcome in all our facilities when attending to receive health care and *treatment. Please show your mask exemption card and appointment letter to staff at the entrance.

*Treatment includes: coming into the Emergency Department, outpatient appointments,  surgery or a procedure.

For visitors to all facilities effective from Wednesday 20 July 2022

With the recent resurgence in cases in Canterbury, largely due to the Omicron BA.5 subvariant we are seeing an increase in demand right across the health system. Presentations to our Christchurch ED and Ashburton’s AAU are higher than ever and admission rates are high, which means we have a shortage of resourced beds.

Recently, we have seen too many unwell people coming to visit someone in hospital and too many that cannot or will not wear a medical mask. This increases the risk to vulnerable people in hospital. For these reasons we need to everything we can to minimise these risks.

We have therefore tightened visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury hospitals and health facilities.

Kia whakahaumaru te whānau, me ngā iwi katoa – this is to keep everybody safe:

  • One visitor per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.
  • No visitors under 16 to any part of our facilities.
  • No visitors to COVID +ve patients other than in exceptional circumstances.
  • No eating or drinking at the bedside or anywhere other than cafes or areas designated for eating/drinking, as taking your mask off puts patients at risk.
  • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms (even if they have tested negative) or have had a recent tummy bug.
  • Do not visit if you are COVID +ve or a household contact of someone who has tested positive
  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all sites and will be provided if people don’t have them. Mask exemptions do not apply in our facilities – people who cannot tolerate a mask cannot visit at this time.
  • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

By sticking to the rules above, 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 where trusted whānau members provide 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 – again, 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 named support people + their community LMC/midwife if they have one – for the duration of the birth only. All other women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Women’s 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 under 16s are allowed to visit or attend appointments.
  • 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).
  • 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.

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • To avoid them becoming infected with COVID-19 and passing it one, visitors to COVID-19 positive patients will not be allowed except in extenuating circumstances – by prior agreement with the Charge Nurse Manager only, and wearing an N95 mask.
  • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, facetime, zoom etc.

You must NOT visit the hospital if you

  • are a household contact of a COVID-19 positive case
  • are COVID-19 positive
  • Have a cold or flu/COVID-19-like symptoms (even if you are testing negative for COVID-19)

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.

Everyone visiting our facilities must wear a mask, no exceptions

While we appreciate that some people have legitimate reasons for being exempt from wearing a mask and may even have an official card to confirm this, people who cannot or will not wear a mask cannot visit someone in hospital or attend hospital, other than to access healthcare treatment*. This is another measure to minimise the risk to vulnerable patients.

*healthcare treatment includes: Emergency Department care, outpatient appointments, surgery or a procedure. 

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

More COVID-19 information

Alcohol is no ordinary commodity – It’s official!

Wednesday 21 December 2016Media release3 minutes to read

The Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, Dr Alistair Humphrey, has triumphed in a landmark case in the Court of Appeal, which means supermarkets can only display alcohol in separate designated areas, away from checkouts and entrances.

It follows Dr Humphrey's successful appeal at the High Court last November which overturned a decision by the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority permitting Bishopdale New World supermarket to display alcohol at the end of supermarket aisles, reversing an earlier decision by the Christchurch District Licensing Committee.

Foodstuffs appealed the High Court decision in the Court of Appeal, but the Court of Appeal agreed with Justice Gendall's earlier decision and dismissed Foodstuff's' argument. Foodstuffs and their subsidiaries have chosen not to take the case any further.

Dr Humphrey says it's been a “David versus Goliath win”, which he's incredibly proud of and very grateful for the support he's received from the Canterbury District Health Board, Medical Officers of Health and public health units around the country in standing up for what is right when it comes to reducing alcohol related harm.

“This decision means that we will be able to choose when and where we buy our alcohol, instead of having it in our faces whenever we are doing our grocery shopping,” Dr Humphrey says.

“Alcohol is often an impulse purchase, like confectionery, so where it is placed in the supermarket can make a huge difference to sales.”

Placement of alcohol in a store can affect its sales by as much as 20 percent or more.

“It is remarkable to think that more than a fifth of alcohol bought in supermarkets would not have been bought if the shopper had not noticed it,” he says.

“The Court of Appeal's ruling sets a legal precedent – supermarkets in New Zealand will need to consider the design of their stores carefully before applying for off licences.”

The interpretation of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act by the High Court, and accepted by the Court of Appeal is that not only should alcohol be kept away from entrances and the checkouts, but also further reduce exposure to as far as is reasonably practicable.

For example, obvious signage visible from all areas of the store is not reducing shoppers' exposure, nor is end of aisle displays and it is reasonably practicable for a store to remove these, or not have them in the first place.

The cost of alcohol harm in New Zealand is more than $5 billion a year, but our revenue from excise tax is a little over $1billion [1]. It seems unfair that the ordinary New Zealand tax payer should subsidise the alcohol industry.

Dr Humphrey has commended the design of some new supermarkets, which are being built in a way that is helping to reduce alcohol exposure.

“It's really pleasing to see that most of the new supermarkets being built are taking their responsibilities seriously and building completely separate areas for selling alcohol. This ruling will help make this kind of separation the norm in New Zealand, as it already is in other countries” Dr Humphrey says.

ENDS

[1] Slack A, Nana G, Webster M, Stokes F, Wu, J. 2009. Costs of harmful alcohol and other drug use. Final Report to the Ministry of Health and ACC. (BERL report)

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Page last updated: 7 December 2018

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