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

Financial review on Canterbury DHB informs future direction

Thursday 22 December 2016Media release4 minutes to read

Statement from the Chair of Canterbury District Health Board, Murray Cleverley

The Minister of Health has today released the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Report that provides advice and options for Canter​bury DHB to consider in dealing with its current financial position. This report and the statement from the Minister can be found on the Ministry of Health website and the New Zealand Government website​​

Canterbury DHB is a $1.4billion operation with a clear focus on providing a world class integrated health service so people in our community get the right care, at the right time, in the right place and by the right person. The Board is responsible for prioritising the available funding and delivering on the expectations of the Crown that have been clearly set out. The Board and management is very committed to working collaboratively and constructively to achieve the expectations and benchmarks, and to always be open to insights such as those provided in the PwC report.

The Board and management will be reflecting on the report over the coming weeks. It does provide some very sound options, and in general, doesn't raise any issues beyond what I had expected. It will be given serious consideration as the Board debates and investigates viable and realistic options for achieving the financial expectations of the Crown.

This report needs to be considered in the context of work being done on an overall prioritisation of the capital expenditure required in relation to the programme of works, and also on how Canterbury DHB meets service delivery targets in all areas of the organisation. It is very important to our communities that we are delivering all of services to meet the targets that have been set and sometimes that can be challenging. Canterbury DHB has to look at options and innovative solutions within the current financial framework. It is also why we will be looking at many options for engaging and communicating with our communities and stakeholders on these big issues.

Earlier this week I made a statement as Chair that is also relevant to this report and its content. In particular the following comments:

The focus for Canterbury DHB and for the health sector overall is on providing integrated care that has the patient at the core, and on keeping our communities healthy and helping people get the care and support they need at the right time, in the right place, and delivered by the right people. This also means looking at the facilities required and taking a long term view as well as the here and now. Both the Board and management needs to continue to be innovative in our thinking about how to make the very best use of the public dollars that we are responsible for as an organisation and entrusted with on behalf of our community. Canterbury DHB is recognised for some innovative thinking around models of care, the integration of services throughout the sector and community, the partnerships that have been formed and are continuing to be developed, and also for the way in which it has responded to the devastating and traumatic earthquakes that have affected each and every person in our communities. Personally as Chair, I am always looking for ways we can do better, show leadership and learn from others and from the lessons of the past.

In 2017, it is my continuing expectation that robust discussion will be encouraged, that there is an understanding that prioritisation is required in health, just as it is in other public sectors, and that the Board and management of Canterbury DHB will work in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Crown as the funder, and with all communities so that we deliver a world class health service.

My focus as Chair is to encourage and expect an environment of professionalism, collaboration and constructive conversations for the benefit of our communities and stakeholders that we represent.

Murray Cleverley

Chair, Canterbury District Health Board


Note for media:

The Chair is unavailable for interviews this week and Canterbury DHB won't be making further comment on the PwC report beyond the above statement.


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Page last updated: 7 December 2018

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