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 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

Cantabrians reminded to come to their outpatient or surgical appointments

Tuesday 2 June 2020Media release4 minutes to read

THIS IS AN ARCHIVED PAGE. The advice and information contained in this page may not be current and it should only be used for historical reference purposes.

Cantabs are being reminded to come to their DHB appointments

Canterbury DHB is well on its way to reinstating planned care – meaning we’re continuing to reschedule appointments, based on clinical priority, that were postponed as the country went into lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19.  

Canterbury DHB Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sue Nightingale says at Alert Level 2 the risk from COVID-19 is greatly reduced and we have resumed many of our services with additional strict precautions to keep everybody safe. The DHB anticipated being at 85 percent of capacity within four weeks of coming out of lockdown – and has already achieved that goal.

“Now we are confident that we can provide care without exposing people to the risk of getting COVID-19 in our facilities, we want to get back on track with people’s care plans as soon as we can – but as we make new appointments for you, we really need you to attend and allow us to pick up where we left off with your care without further delay.

“For some people the way we provide that care has changed, so that they can still receive care when and where they need it. More consultations will occur over the phone or by video link for example, to avoid unnecessary person-to-person contact.

“However, there are many circumstances when we do need to see you in person – for some time to come we will only make that kind of appointment where it’s essential. When you do come to your appointment you will find that a few other things have changed too,” says Dr Nightingale.

To meet Alert Level 2 physical distancing requirements, we continue to restrict the number of visitors entering the premises and people who enter the hospital have their details recorded for contact tracing purposes.

“We apologise if these measures cause any inconvenience, but please remember our priority, as always, is to provide you with the best possible care while keeping you safe,” Dr Nightingale says.

If you get a message about a new outpatient appointment or in relation to planned surgery, it’s important you attend. These appointments are part of helping you stay well or recover faster. If you have any difficulty attending, please let us know and we will do our best to work with you to find a more suitable time.

It also helps others and our health system if you let us know in advance if you can’t make your appointment – we can then give that timeslot to someone else and so make sure we can make the most of the clinical time available.

In summary:

  • We are making new appointments to resume people’s planned care.
  • For the sake of your health, please make sure you do attend – and let us know if you can’t.
  • Expect to see and experience increased infection prevention measures in all our facilities for some time to come – this is to protect and reassure everybody.
  • If you have cold or flu-like symptoms, please call ahead of your appointment to ask for advice. 

Additional information – how we are keeping people safe

Besides reducing face-to-face appointments to those that are really necessary, other precautions include:

  • Increased cleaning, especially toilets, food areas and surfaces that many people touch such as door handles and hand rails, furniture, public phones etc.
  • Restricting the number of entrances to DHB facilities to ensure everyone who arrives is checked to ensure they are well.
  • Recording all visitor and support persons’ details in case we need to do contact tracing later.
  • Reducing the number of people in clinics at any one time so people can stay far enough apart in waiting rooms.
  • Having information and warnings on display where appropriate – for example the physical distancing requirements.
  • Providing hand sanitiser in prominent places, including entrances and in wards or treatment areas and asking people to wash or sanitise their hands.



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Page last updated: 25 September 2020

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