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

First patients make the move to Waipapa

Monday 16 November 2020Media release3 minutes to read

A Haematology patient is moved from the existing Christchurch Hospital over to the new Waipapa facility

The first relocation of patients from existing wards at Christchurch Hospital over to the brand new Waipapa building have taken place today.

Our Haematology and Oncology wards have now finished the huge undertaking of moving their patients, with approximately 24 patients making the journey over to Waipapa.

Our Radiology services are now fully operational in Waipapa and ready to image patients as the various wards relocate to Waipapa over the next two weeks.

Canterbury DHB Director of Nursing Lynne Johnson says it was an exciting day for both patients and staff making the move to brand new facilities.

“The relocation of wards to a new facility is a huge undertaking and our teams have been so impressed by the commitment of our staff, the effort that has gone in to planning these moves and the support from all over the health system to enable a smooth transition.

“With further moves ahead of us over the next couple of weeks, we will be able to apply our learnings from this move,” says Lynne.

The move from the existing wards takes patients on a 8-10 minute journey from the existing wards of Christchurch Hospital, through the new ‘linkway’ and on to Waipapa.

Haematology Charge Nurse Manager Sally Braycotton who was a key part of the ward’s relocation to Waipapa today says it was quite a task to move sometimes quite unwell patients from one hospital building to the other.

“We have a complex mix of patients in Haematology and there has been a substantial amount of planning to execute the moves and safely transport our patients to Waipapa.

“What makes it all worth it is the smiles we saw on the patients’ faces today as they are whisked away from the existing Christchurch Hospital to the brand new sparkling wards of Waipapa!” Sally says.

Haematology patient Tane Loper was one of the first patients to make the move to Waipapa, and once he was settled in to his new room he told us how impressed he was with the new space.

“It’s got all the mod-cons and is very tidy, it’s awesome. The best thing about it is the view from the rooms, they’ve done well designing it.

“There’s heaps of room. I’m blown away. It’s actually a whole heap better than I thought it would be!” Tane said.

A number of other wards and departments will also be making the move to Waipapa over the next two weeks including ICU and our children’s wards.

The new Emergency Department will be open on the ground floor of Waipapa at 7.30am on Wednesday 18 November.



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Page last updated: 16 November 2020

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