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 Human Milk Bank celebrates seven years

Thursday 4 February 2021Media release3 minutes to read

Donor mother Kiri Backe-Hansen

Today marks seven years of Canterbury DHB’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) operating the first human milk bank in New Zealand.

The human milk bank opened in February 2014 and has been providing neonatal mothers and babies with breastmilk from generous donor mothers ever since.

The aim of the milk bank is to support mothers who wish to breastfeed by providing pasteurised donor milk in the first week after birth until their own supply of breast milk establishes.

In 2019, 919 babies were admitted to the Neonatal Unit and 40 percent of these babies were supported by the milk bank with pasteurised donor milk.

Neonatal Staff Nurse Schol Obery says the seven year anniversary is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the DHB’s maternity staff and donor mothers.

“Seven years ago, we launched the first human milk bank in New Zealand with the goal of supporting Canterbury mothers to be able to access breast milk.

“To watch it grow into a service that now even offers a pickup service has really been a career highlight for me.

“The generous support we have received from the community, Canterbury Neonatal Unit Trust and the absolutely brilliant donor mums has never waned. I want to acknowledge and thank everyone for all the hard work that has led us here to our 7 year anniversary,” says Schol.

The human milk bank has also been instrumental in establishing a milk donation and ‘milk banking’ virtual network across New Zealand and held their first virtual meeting in October 2020.

They have provided tours of the milk bank, provided resources on how to set up a milk bank and shared screening resources and milk bank operational guidelines to centres such as Wellington, Auckland, Palmerston North and Blenheim.

Fast facts:

  • When raw milk is donated, it is frozen, pasteurised, checked for bacteria and eventually given out to neonatal babies and some babies on the maternity ward.
  • Raw breast milk is accepted up to three months on from when it was first expressed and is frozen for another three months following pasteurisation. Pasteurised donor milk contains over 200 components that are useful for the growth and good health for a baby.
  • The milk assists babies to build a healthy immune system and acts as protection from serious gut infections. It contains easily digestible proteins, reduces the risk of bowel problems in preterm infants and contributes to a healthy nervous system and optimises brain growth.

If anyone is interested in becoming a donor, they should visit to find out how to get involved and help our Human Milk Bank.

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Page last updated: 4 February 2021

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