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

Care of up to 25 million people now guided by HealthPathways – created in Canterbury and localised around the globe

Wednesday 2 November 2016Media release3 minutes to read

​The Canterbury Health System's integrated way of working has gained interest from health leaders from New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom, and this week they're together in Canterbury furthering their knowledge and collaboration as part of the HealthPathways International Conference on from 1-3 November.

The health regions committed to HealthPathways are responsible for the care of approximately 25 million people.

South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Chief Executive Dr David Hambleton and North of England Clinical Commissioning Support Unit (NECS) Project Manager Mark Girvan have come over from the United Kingdom especially for the conference and to learn more about Canterbury's way of working.

Dr Hambleton says South Tyneside CCG covers a population of about 150,000 people in the North East of England and is one of 11 health and social care integration pioneer sites for the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, which has led to linking with Canterbury.

“The work Canterbury is doing around integration across health care is seen as exemplary throughout the world,” he says.

Canterbury's collaborative way of working was the model South Tyneside is aiming for in its own health system.

“It really resonated with us and we ended up with a formal agreement to launch HealthPathways in South Tyneside on August 18 this year.”

Dr Hambleton says launching HealthPathways was a big public statement to say “we're all in this together”.

Not reinventing the wheel had been a significant part of the attraction to adopting the systems that are already successful in Canterbury, he says.

“We love everything that we've heard and see that's coming out of the Canterbury Health System, as it's exactly what we're trying to build.”

Mr Girvan says the response to introducing HealthPathways in South Tyneside CCG has been very positive.

“We had great engagement very early on in the piece when people saw what we're trying to do, everyone bought into it,” Mr Girvan said.

*HealthPathways is an online tool that provides general practice teams with information to consistently assess and manage medical conditions, as well as the criteria for requesting health services in the respective health region. The clinical pathways are developed and agreed by general practitioners, hospital clinicians, and a wide range of other health professionals involved in the care of Canterbury patients all over the health system. It helps to improve the quality of care in the community and reduces the time people spend waiting, while supporting the delivery of more services closer to people's own homes.

HealthPathways was founded by the Canterbury DHB and Streamliners in 2007. Canterbury developed the initial 500 pathways, agreed to share them with other members of the Community, and continues to review and update the core pathways based on current evidence and specialist opinion.

Use of HealthPathways has steadily increased to the point that 99% of general practitioners in Canterbury surveyed use it weekly in their practice, and 80% use it more than six times a week. Use is also high by practice nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, community nurses, and other allied health services.

HealthPathways is already being used in the following health authorities, with many more enquiries currently being followed up:​

​New Zealand DHBs

Southern; South Canterbury; Canterbury; Nelson-Marlborough; West Coast; Auckland Regional; Northland; Wairarapa; Hutt Valley; Capital & Coast.​

​​Australia Local Health Districts

New South Wales: ACT and Southern; Central Coast; Hunter New England; Illawarra Shoalhaven; Mid & North Coast; South Western Sydney; Sydney; Sydney North; Western Sydney. Queensland: Cairns; Central Queensland; Wide Bay; Sunshine Coast; Mackay;Townsville, Western Australia. Victoria: Eastern Melbourne; Gippsland; Melbourne; ​Murray; Western Victoria, Tasmania.​

​​United Kingdom

South Tyneside – a local health authority serving around 150,000 people.


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Page last updated: 19 December 2018

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