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

Ceremony marks ground breaking health research and education initiative

Thursday 6 October 2016Media release5 minutes to read

A unique and collaborative workspace for health aligned sectors in the city was celebrated in Christchurch today with the launch of the Health Research Education Facility (HREF). This is the first private sector building to be constructed in the Health Precinct.

The partners involved in the HREF blessed the land and turned the soil to mark the beginning of construction of the new building, and symbolically signal the start of an innovative future in healthcare collaboration.

The HREF is a state-of-the-art, purpose-built facility designed to house health education, professional development and research activities. It will provide the partner organisations, Canterbury District Health Board, Ara Institute of Canterbury and University of Canterbury opportunities for collaboration and innovation.

CDHB and Ara will be joint tenants in the building, which is being built by Huadu International and NewUrban Group – a Chinese/Canterbury business partnership led by former Christchurch Mayor Sir Bob Parker.

“The trends are indisputable,” says Canterbury DHB CEO David Meates. “We have an ageing population and ageing workforce and we need to find innovative ways to address these issues. Collaborative efforts can lead to novel approaches to processes that will help meet these challenges.”

Mr Meates says the HREF will be a huge asset in terms of building our future workforce. “It's fantastic to see this project underway. I'm confident it will grow to become Canterbury's centre of health innovation, research and education, with all the key players in one location, close to the Christchurch Hospital campus, and as a cornerstone facility in the Health Precinct.”

The HREF building will be the new home for more than 2,000 Ara nursing, midwifery and medical imaging students, as well as to Canterbury DHB education and development staff. The University of Canterbury will also have a presence in the building.

“This has been a significant undertaking,” says Stella Ward, CDHB Executive Director of Allied Health. “It's not just about services co-locating in a building. It's about creating and sustaining a culture of collaboration. Inter-professional learning will improve inter-professional practice, which in turn contributes to improved patient outcomes.”

“This will also help reduce fragmentation among services, create a more integrated inter-professional approach to training, and reduce costs through more effective utilisation of resources.”

Locating the Health Research Education Facility close to Christchurch Hospital means duty staff attending research or education sessions can quickly return to the hospital if anything urgent crops up. Being located close to clinical areas will enable clinicians, researchers and students to flow freely in a campus setting between the hospital and education/research space and ensure knowledge translation occurs from and into clinical settings.

Ara Institute of Canterbury Chief Executive Kay Giles says Ara is excited about the finalisation of the development arrangements for the HREF. “This outcome has been achieved through negotiations with the partnering organisations and with the support of many agencies operating in Christchurch. Ara is confident that the Facility will deliver on the promise of improving health and wellbeing through collaboration between the health delivery, education and research partners creating benefit for our students, our community and for Christchurch.”​

University of Canterbury's representative on the Health Precinct Advisory Council and Pro Vice Chancellor, Professor Gail Gillon, says the HREF will provide excellent opportunities to enhance the University of Canterbury's collaborative research and teaching initiatives with CDHB, Ara, Otago and Ngāi Tahu.

“In particular, we are looking to advance initiatives in postgraduate health sciences, leadership and management and postgraduate nursing through the central city health precinct location. Our University Council has approved the strategic business case for our presence in the new building and we are now working through costing details.”

Dean of the University of Otago Christchurch, Professor David Murdoch, says the announcement of the HREF building is an exciting development that will facilitate new partnerships and consolidate existing collaborations, and ultimately lead to improved health outcomes.

“The University of Otago, Christchurch has many existing collaborations with local partners such as the Canterbury DHB, Canterbury Health Laboratories and the University of Canterbury. These partnerships play a vital role in our ability to produce meaningful applied health research and to train the highest calibre of health professionals.”

Ian Town, Chair of the Health Precinct Advisory Council says, ‘The Health Precinct Advisory Council acknowledges the significant commitment and achievement of all the partners in reaching the HREF development agreement. We are delighted that Huadu International and New Urban Group have joined with us to enable our vision for collaboration and innovation. The HREF will provide a unique stage where new ways of learning, working and researching together will ultimately lead to improved health and economic outcomes for our community.”

The partner organisations will be able to share a systems approach, including shared IT platforms, common quality and audit processes, and workforce data collection. The environment also supports the more rapid adoption of new technologies.


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Page last updated: 19 December 2018

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