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’s Emergency Department and Urgent Care Clinics will be stretched into early next week

Wednesday 28 September 2022Media release4 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.

The Emergency Department and Canterbury’s Urgent Care facilities are currently under significant pressure says Norma Campbell, System Wide Operations Centre Controller for Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury,

There were 368 presentations to ED yesterday which is exceptionally busy for midweek, and 101 people were either being treated or waiting to be seen at 4pm today.

“I need to emphasise that people who need care more urgently will be seen sooner and will get the care they need,” says Norma Campbell.

“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,” Norma Campbell says.

Due to a combination of high demand, very sick patients and a lack of staff, Moorhouse Medical and Riccarton Clinic are currently unable to see walk-in patients and are taking enrolled patients by booked appointment only for the remainder of today, Wednesday 28 September, and at Moorhouse Medical tomorrow, Thursday 29 September.

The 24 Hour Surgery is operating as normal today but is busier than usual with waits of six hours or more for patients with less urgent needs. Tomorrow and into the weekend all three urgent care facilities will be very busy and/or operating reduced services due to staffing issues.

“Our Emergency Department is also exceptionally busy and our hospital is operating over capacity.  We are taking a number of actions to free-up staff capacity, such as postponing some surgeries and rescheduling some outpatient appointments. Note, this will exclude all gastroscopy and colonoscopy procedures as well as urgent cancer surgeries.

“We apologise to everyone impacted by delays in their care, but we need to take these measures to ensure we can continue to provide emergency care,” Norma Campbell says.

“People will be contacted directly if their appointment needs to be rebooked. If you haven’t heard from us, please assume that it is going ahead. If you’re not sure, please phone the number on your appointment letter.”

There are other things you can do that will take the pressure off the system – you can:

  • Treat minor injuries yourself at home, applying an ice pack or frozen peas to a sprain for example, or clean and dress cuts and scrapes that don’t require stitches.
  • Low-grade fevers can be reduced with over the counter medication such as paracetamol
  • Talk to your community pharmacist about issues that non-prescription medication can help with, such as less-severe pain, diarrhoea, hayfever or minor skin complaints
  • Call your GP team if you need a repeat prescription – you may be able to get one without having to make an appointment at the practice
  • For physical injuries that require physiotherapy, you don’t need a referral from a doctor – you can go directly to a physiotherapist who can handle your ACC claim too. You can search for a Physiotherapy New Zealand member by area of practice, keyword and location on

Urgent clinics, reduced hours:

Due to reduced staff capacity, Moorhouse Medical will be closed to urgent care walk-ins for the remainder of today and tomorrow, Thursday 29 Sept. GPs there will be able to see only booked patients until 6pm Monday- Friday. Moorhouse’s other services, including their fracture clinic, will be running as normal.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Moorhouse team will be able to see urgent walk-ins during the reduced hours of 8am to 2pm and on Monday until 4pm (instead of the normal 8pm).

Riccarton Clinic is seeing enrolled patients with booked appointments only today and is expected to also have reduced capacity to see urgent walk-ins tomorrow (Thursday).

The 24 Hour Surgery is operating as normal today but will have staffing issues tomorrow, 29 September.

Hours over the weekend will be updated on Friday.



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Page last updated: 6 December 2022

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