All hospital visitors are recommended to wear a medical face mask. Expand this message for information about visiting hospital.

Last updated:
13 March 2023

Some visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury hospitals and health facilities remain in place, but we have relaxed others.

There is still a heightened risk to vulnerable people in hospital and so we recommend all people wear a mask when visiting any of our facilities and follow other advice designed to keep patients, staff and  visitors safe.

To keep everybody safe:

  • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell. Do not visit if you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and haven’t completed your isolation period.
  • Patients may have more than one visitor, except in some situations such as multi-bed rooms where it can cause overcrowding.
  • Surgical/medical masks are recommended to be worn at all sites. Masks will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • For Specialist Mental Health Services everyone is strongly encouraged to wear a face mask in all inpatient areas and areas where consumers are receiving care (i.e. community appointments, home-visits, transporting people). Discretion may be applied in cases where masks impair your ability to communicate effectively.
  • Visitors must not eat or drink in multibed rooms because of the increased risk when multiple people remove their face mask in the same space.
  • Hand sanitiser is available and must be used.

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.

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • People can visit patients who have COVID-19 but they must wear an N95 mask – this will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, Facetime, Zoom, WhatsApp etc where visits aren’t possible.

All of our Hospitals

Visiting hours for our hospitals have returned to pre COVID-19 hours with the exception of Christchurch Women’s Hospital.

All visitors are recommended to wear a medical face mask.

Parents/caregivers are able to be with their child in hospital and visitors are now allowed, except for the Children’s Haematology and Oncology Day stay where just one parent/caregiver is able to attend their appointment with their child. Exceptions by special arrangement only.

Patients and visitors should also read the additional more detailed visiting guidelines for each specific hospital.

More COVID-19 information

Christchurch Hospital’s Emergency Department under significant pressure

Tuesday 11 July 2023Media release3 minutes to read

THIS IS AN ARCHIVED PAGE. The advice and information contained in this page may not be current and it should only be used for historical reference purposes.

Christchurch Hospital’s Emergency Department under significant pressure.

The Emergency Department at Christchurch Hospital is currently under significant pressure.

Yesterday the ED team saw 412 people in a 24-hour period – this is a record number of presentations.

“As is always the case in ED, people who need care more urgently will be seen sooner and will get the care they need – those with less urgent conditions will have to wait, and currently the waiting times are longer than usual,” says Richard French, Canterbury’s Chief Medical Officer.

“If you don’t need emergency care, please phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night and they can advise you on what to do and where to go if you do need to be seen urgently.  You can also call your usual general practice or speak to your local pharmacist for health advice.”

“There is no single condition causing the high demand, it is a range of illnesses affecting the community.”

“Although we are asking for your help in reducing demand, if you are really unwell we do still want to see you. I apologise to those who are having to wait and understand that this can be particularly distressing when you are unwell,” Dr French says.

There are a number of options available if you have a non-urgent health problem and can't get in to see your general practice team.

  • Minor injuries and illnesses like colds, coughs, fevers and mild COVID-19 can be treated safely at home. Check out the free advice available on Healthify in the Health A to Z
  • Consider a virtual appointment with a clinician online via a device such as your phone, laptop or tablet (
  • Free health advice is available 24/7 from Healthline on 0800 611 116 
  • Your local pharmacy can advise on over-the-counter medications and treatments including pain management.
  • Most Canterbury pharmacies are also offering free advice and where applicable, free medicines for certain minor health conditions for eligible people. See more:
  • Many GPs can issue repeat prescriptions over the phone or online 
    If you have a sprain or injury, you can go straight to a physio without a referral – they can register an ACC claim, and organise X-rays and specialist referrals

A reminder, if you have a life-threatening emergency, do not hesitate, call 111.



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Page last updated: 1 December 2023

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