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

Canterbury health system working hard to keep Cantabs well

Tuesday 23 May 2017Media release4 minutes to read

The Canterbury DHB's performance in Quarter 3 of the 2016/2017 National Health Targets show the DHB continues to strive toward keeping Cantabrians well. 

Canterbury DHB acting chief executive Mary Gordon says the DHB has done exceptionally well considering the pressure still facing our health system.

“It's great we've exceeded the faster cancer treatment target for the second consecutive quarter. I'm really pleased that 87 percent of patients received their first cancer treatment (or other management) within 62 days of being referred with a high suspicion of cancer,” Mary says. 

“Our teams are continuously working to improve the capture and quality of the Faster Cancer Treatment data, and reviewing patient pathways to improve timeliness.”

Everyone in the Canterbury health system has worked tirelessly to try and maintain performance on the health targets, Mary says.

“Unfortunately we just missed the ED health target this quarter with 94 percent of patients admitted, discharged or transferred from ED within 6 hours. 

“The average time in ED was only two minutes longer than the previous quarter and four minutes longer than the same quarter last year.”

Mary says it is only a small group who are having longer stays, which backs clinical staff reports that they are assessing and treating people with more complex needs – and this takes longer.

“Initiatives to support HealthTarget performance have included the implementation of strategies to manage demand in the community and improve flow in Emergency Department (ED) and throughout the hospital.

“The supports in place in the community, such as the Acute Demand Management Service, have meant 34,000 people in Canterbury have been provided care in the community over the past year, rather than being admitted into hospital.”

Great work continues at a primary care level with immunisation rates showing strong coverage across all population groups, Mary says.

Canterbury DHB met the Health Target for most ethnicities this quarter (98 percent Asian, 96 percent Pacific and 96 percent New Zealand European) but Māori rates were down to 91 percent, which meant we just missed the target this quarter vaccinating 94.4 percent of eligible children. 

“Opt-off and decline rates stayed steady this quarter at 4.2 percent of the eligible population being unreachable due to parental choice.”

The focus on children remains strong with Canterbury making big improvements in the Raising Healthy Kids target – achieving 93 percent of four-year-olds identified as above the 98th centile for their BMI (height and weight measurement) who were referred for clinical assessment and healthy lifestyle intervention. 

“This result demonstrates the change in process by Before School Check nurses, and understanding the importance of quickly passing on the referral to the Healthy Lifestyles Coordination Service. Our result is consistent across all ethnicities and population groups.” 

The Healthy Lifestyle Coordination Service includes Triple P Healthy Lifestyles Programme; a positive parenting programme and Active Families: helping our families to be more active in a meaningful way. 

Making sure smokers attending primary care are offered advice to quit continued to improve in Quarter 3 to 87.1 percent – a 2.1 percent increase on the previous quarter.

Finally, Canterbury delivered 15,004 elective surgeries, 97.7 percent of the target delivery.

“There is a recovery plan in place to support reaching target by the end of the financial year,” Mary Gordon said. “While there is a need for us to do better in some areas, it is encouraging to see the progress we have made across the board is sustainable. 

“These results are a credit to those working hard throughout our health system,” she said.  “I know how much work has gone on to achieve 97.7 percent of our elective target, and I want to acknowledge and thank everyone who has gone the extra mile so more people receive the treatment and care they need,” she said.

Read more about Canterbury's Health Targets.



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Page last updated: 3 October 2018

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