Hospital visitors don’t need a Vaccine Pass, but must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for visiting guidelines, COVID-19 tests current case numbers in regions of Canterbury and care in the community advice. See for info about vaccinations.

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

Last updated:
19 April 2022

For visitors to all facilities effective from Tuesday 19 April 2022

With the change to the ORANGE Traffic Light setting, Canterbury DHB is easing its visitor policy in recognition of the fact we have passed the peak of the current Omicron outbreak and case numbers are slowly reducing.

The following visitor restrictions are now in place for all Canterbury DHB hospitals and health facilities:

  • One adult visitor may be accompanied by no more than one child over the age of 12 per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.  No children under 12 and those 12 and over must be accompanied by an adult and wear a medical mask.
  • Visitors or support people should not visit our facilities if they are unwell.
  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all Canterbury DHB sites and will be provided if people don’t have them.
  • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

By adhering to these conditions, 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 (ie more than one visitor) where a trusted whānau member provides 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 – 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 support people, and women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Womens Hospital. Only one support person can be with each woman in the maternity ward, and one support person for maternity clinic appointments, no children are allowed to visit.
  • 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, following a supervised negative RAT result)
  • Children who are inpatients, one other visitor (other than a parent or caregiver) is able to visit in consultation with the nurse in charge.
  • 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.

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.

Face covering exemption cards

The Exemptions Team at the Ministry of Health is now responsible for processing requests for Face Covering Communication Cards.

Updated information about mask wearing, and how to request an exemption card can now be found here. People unable to request an exemption card online can call 0800 28 29 26 and select option 2, or text 8988

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

More COVID-19 information

Canterbury and West Coast DHBs preparing for planned PSA industrial action

Monday 9 May 2022Canterbury DHB News3 minutes to read

Canterbury and West Coast DHBs are preparing for industrial action planned by the PSA

Canterbury and West Coast DHBs are preparing for further planned industrial action by the Public Service Association. The nationwide action involves a full withdrawal of labour for 24 hours from 11.59pm on Sunday 15 May to 11.59pm on Monday 16 May.

This is in addition to the ongoing ‘work to rule’ period between Monday 9 May and Friday 20 May, where staff members of the PSA are instructed by their union:

  • not to work before agreed paid start times
  • not to work after agreed paid start times
  • to stop work to take all the breaks they are entitled to.

In Canterbury 39 professions and over 1500 Public Health, Scientific and Technical staff will be affected by the PSA strike. On the West Coast, 23 professions and more than 120 staff members of PSA union are affected.

Our therapeutic, rehabilitation, laboratory, occupational therapy and diagnostic services as well as other clinical support services and Hauora Māori will be severely impacted during the time of the strike.

However, the industrial action won’t affect COVID-19 testing services and it is really important people who need to get tested on the day of the strike make sure they still do. Likewise, vaccination sites will still be providing COVID-19 vaccinations.

Canterbury and West Coast DHBs Chief Executive, Dr Peter Bramley, says if this industrial action goes ahead as planned it will cause significant disruption to health services across the two DHBs, particularly to lab results which will be delayed as they catch up with the backlog.

“Services such as the Emergency Department at Christchurch Hospital have warned that there will be delays during the period of the strike,” says Peter.

The 24-hour strike will generally affect patient flow, in particular some discharges back to community where physio, social work, occupational therapy and dietitians are often involved.

Where it is appropriate and safe to do so we will discharge patients home ahead of the strike to reduce the pressure on those staff who are working.

A large number of outpatient clinics, community clinics, elective surgery and procedures are likely to have to be deferred on Monday. People will be re-booked to the next available time. If they are not contacted, they can expect their procedure or appointment to go ahead as normal.

“While community collection centres will be open in Canterbury for blood tests, all community collection centres will be closed on the West Coast. Hospital laboratory staff will only be processing urgent inpatient blood tests,” says Peter.

Some of the professions affected in Canterbury and the West Coast are:

  • Anaesthetic Technicians
  • Audiologists
  • Biomedical Technicians
  • Clinical engineering
  • Dental Therapists
  • Dietitians
  • Health Protection Officers
  • Hospital play specialists
  • Kaiāwhina (Allied Health Assistants)
  • Laboratory staff
  • Maori Health staff
  • Newborn Hearing Screeners
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Orthoptists and Optometrists 
  • Pharmacists and Technicians and pharmacy assistants
  • Phlebotomists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Play Specialists
  • Podiatrists 
  • Psychologists
  • Radiology assistants
  • Social Workers
  • Speech-language Therapists
  • Sterile Services staff
  • Technicians (e.g. Neurophysiology, Hyperbaric)

“We respect the right of staff to take industrial action and acknowledge the important role that health workers play in delivering high quality care.

“Our priority, as always, is the safety of patients and we want to reassure our community that you will still receive emergency and urgent care during the strike,” says Peter.



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Page last updated: 9 May 2022

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