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 World Smokefree Day in Canterbury

Friday 29 May 2015Media release3 minutes to read

Cantabrian's are being encouraged to use World Smokefree Day on Sunday (May 31, 2015) to think about how they can contribute to a Smokefree Aotearoa by 2025.

David Meates, Canterbury DHB chief executive, believes that by working together we can achieve the Government's goal to reduce New Zealand's smoking rate to less than five percent of the population by 2025.

“While 2025 is only 10 years away it's important to look back at how far we have come. Fifty years ago some doctors prescribed cigarettes, 25 years ago you could smoke on planes and at the movies and 10 years ago you could smoke in bars and restaurants,” Mr Meates says.

“Smoking is still a big issue in Canterbury. Our DHB region has more regular smokers than any other DHB region. More than 52,000 Cantabrians -– that's the equivalent of three sell-out crowds at AMI Stadium – are regular smokers.

“The good news is that fewer of us are smoking. Smoking has decreased in all age groups, with the total prevalence of regular smoking falling in the Canterbury DHB region to 14.5 percent.”

Mr Meates says there are many reasons why the rate of smoking is decreasing, including annual price increases, reduced visibility, increases in the number of Smokefree spaces and places, and the cessation support provided by people working in the health system.

“Cessation support is something we are getting better at all the time. It's pleasing that we now consistently achieve the Government's target of 95 percent of eligible hospitalised smokers getting cessation advice and support.”​

Mr Meates is encouraging Cantabrian's to show their support for a Smokefree Aotearoa 2025 by signing up to Smokefree Canterbury's new online charter.

“The online Charter has been developed to make it easy for people, workplaces and other organisations to show their support for a Smokefree 2025. It looks like a jigsaw to illustrate the way that our individual contributions will join together to achieve our Smokefree 2025 goal,” Mr Meates says.

​Smokefree and Proud at the Christchurch Marathon – Aukati KaiPaipa is a cessation provider who receive referrals from health staff to support people to stop smoking.

As part of World Smokefree Day this Sunday, Aukati KaiPaipa client Justine Riwai will be celebrating her Smokefree status by joining six other Aukatai KaiPaipa clients, and Maraea her quit coach, on the 10km walk at the Christchurch Marathon.

Justine has been Smokefree for 16 weeks and it's not just her health which is benefiting. By not smoking Justine is saving $280 a week, which she's spending on her family.

“I am using all the money I'm saving on taking the kids to places like Orana Park, Willowbank, the Antarctic Centre and Hanmer. We're doing something special together every weekend,” Justine says.

Justine says this time around she was determined to succeed.

“My quit coach Maraea was my biggest motivation. Knowing that I had to report to her, there was no way I was going to suck on a cancer stick again,” she says.

At their first meeting Justine was shocked to discover the impact of her smoking on her body. Justine blew a score of 38 on a CO2 detector – blowing low 20s is considered a heavy smoker.

Like everyone else who attempts to stop smoking, Justine experienced lots of urges to smoke. Two key strategies she used to relieve her symptoms were going for walks and weaving harakeke.

After smoking for 27 years and with 14 unsuccessful quit attempts to her name, Justine can now call herself Smokefree.

Find out more at


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Page last updated: 19 December 2018

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