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

Chair of Health Precinct Advisory Council to step down

Monday 20 May 2019Media release3 minutes to read

After five years in the role, Professor Ian Town is stepping down from his position as Independent Chair of the Health Precinct Advisory Council.

Professor Ian Town will step down as Independent Chair of the Health Precinct Advisory Council after five years in the role.

After five years leading the development of Canterbury’s Health Precinct Advisory Council (HPAC) its Independent Chair, Professor Ian Town is stepping down.

If there’s one thing Ian Town believes in, it’s the power of collaboration. For the past five years, his abilities to bring parties together, think creatively, and work towards a broader vision for future health have made him a forceful and inspirational Chair of the Council.

Town steps down from the Council at the end of June, but leaves a legacy of collaborative action harnessing the collective aspirations of each of the HPAC partners that has laid a path for a bright and exciting future for health, research, education and innovation in Canterbury.

Canterbury DHB Chief Executive Officer David Meates, said Town’s contribution to the success of the Health Precinct Advisory Council cannot be understated.

“Ian’s energy, connections and drive have moved this project forward in a way that sets a clear path for the future. The Council has brought key players in health delivery and research together and working collaboratively in a way that we could not have even imagined before the earthquakes.”

Te Papa Hauora is a hub of a creativity and integrates healthcare, research and innovation, education and industry as well as spearheading key projects that brought the community into the heart of the project through public research talks, leadership development for students and the 48-hour health challenges.

“There is a real commitment on the part of all the Council to keep talking, sharing resources, and doing things differently. The groundwork has been laid to ensure we continue to lead the world in healthcare design and delivery.

“Canterbury is rapidly earning a name as a place that attracts talent in healthcare, research and education from around the world, and that is thanks in no small part to Ian’s contribution to the Council.

“Ian has agreed to stay on in the role until such time as a new Chair is selected in June. The new Chair will bring fresh eyes and energy to this important role as the Council prepares for the next period of growth and development,” David Meates said.

Anyone who wishes to express an interest in the Chair role should contact Baden Ewart –

Ian credits much of the success of the Council to the shared vision and determination of those who have been part of the Council since inception in 2014: Ara, the University of Canterbury, Ngai Tahu (through Matapopore), the DHB, and the University of Otago.  He said the Manawa building project was an example of what can be achieved when parties work together. “It’s a magnificent facility which is already proving its worth.”

“I’m immensely proud of our collective achievements, and will be watching with great interest to see the Health Precinct vision and new developments come to life over the coming years,” Ian Town said. 



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Page last updated: 27 May 2019

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