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

Celebrating health excellence

Thursday 3 November 2016Media release4 minutes to read

The Canterbury Health System has celebrated an outstanding calibre of entries to the Quality Improvement and Innovation Awards this week.

The annual awards were held on Monday (October 31, 2016) to acknowledge excellence in the sector.

David Meates, Canterbury DHB Chief Executive, says it's one of his favourite times of year – where the remarkable work of health system staff is recognised.

“I'm incredibly proud of the amazing efforts of everyone involved. I congratulate the entrants of this year's awards and want to publicly acknowledge them for their continuous commitment and dedication to making our health system better.

“The courage to be innovative is rarely easy in health. Canterbury is fortunate to have broken down many of the barriers through better integration and encouraging people to do the right thing.

“Doing the right thing inspires innovation and drives improvement. That, and our focus on patients, is what makes our health system great.”

Winners of this year's Supreme Award at the 2016 Canterbury Health System Quality Improvement and Innovation Awards, the team behind Improving Care Processes for Patients with Possible Acute Coronary Syndrome, has done an amazing job to improve patient care across the system. This entry also took out the Award in the Best Value for Public Health System Resources category.

“The team developed a much more efficient way of ruling out heart attacks in patients presenting with chest pain to ED. It has been such a successful innovation it's been picked up and implemented in other EDs around the country and internationally – something Canterbury can be really proud of.”

Mr Meates is thrilled the Pegasus Health 24 Hour Surgery won the Improved Health and Equity for All Populations category with its Queue Portal.

“Managing patient flow is a never-ending challenge in health and it's great to see the Pegasus Health 24 Hour Surgery making significant improvements to waiting times and the patient experience, particularly as they have had to accommodate an increase of about 15,000 more patients over the last four years.”

Mr Meates says the winner for the Improved Quality Safety and Experience of Care couldn't have gone to a better service.

“The loss of an unborn child is a devastating time for expectant parents but unfortunately it's not uncommon – with around 20 percent of pregnancies miscarrying. It's a really distressing event for women, their family/ whanau and one that the Early Pregnancy Assessment Service at Christchurch Women's Hospital wanted to make easier for those going through it.”

Women with problems during early pregnancy now only come to Christchurch Women's Hospital if hospital-based management is required. Most can be safely and successfully managed in the community.

Mr Meates says he commends all the winners and runners up of this year's awards.

“Everyone in the Canterbury Health System deserves recognition for putting patients at the centre of what they do to deliver the best care.”

2016 Canterbury Health System – Quality Improvement and Innovation Award Winners
Supreme Award Winner

Improving Care Processes for Patients with Possible Acute Coronary Syndrome

Improved Health and Equity for all Populations

Winner: 24 Hour Surgery Queue Portal

Runner up: Kiriata Māmā / Mothers Television

Improved Quality, Safety and Experience of Care

Winner: Improving Options for Management of Early Pregnancy Loss

Runner up: No Pain, More Gain: CoolSense pain numbing applicator

Best Value for Public Health System Resources

Winner: Improving Care Processes for Patients with Possible Acute Coronary Syndrome

Runner Up: The Avastin Service Improvement Project

Highly Commended

Satisfaction with Crisis Resolution: Consumer, Family, Referrer Perspectives

Consumer Council Award

The Avastin Service Improvement Project

Posters- Winner

Reducing Treatment Times for OSA Using Multi-‐Patient Based Clinics

Posters- Runner Up

Sustaining Health's National Treasures – Blood, Patients and Staff

Posters- People's Choice

Making Medicines Education Memorable

For more information and pictures, visit



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Page last updated: 19 December 2018

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