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

Growing concern for the wellbeing of those with unsettled EQC and insurance claims

Thursday 19 February 2015Media release4 minutes to read

New research shows signs some Cantabrians are now coping better with the psychological impact of the earthquakes and their related stressors, although there are still areas of major concern.

The research was commissioned to inform the All Right? wellbeing campaign, a Healthy Christchurch project led by the Mental Health Foundation and the Canterbury District Health Board. It was undertaken by Opinions Market Research in November 2014 and included interviews and surveys with nearly a thousand people in Christchurch, the Waimakariri and Selwyn.

All Right? Manager Sue Turner says there are some positive results.

“There's been a drop in the number of Cantabrians who are worrying about another big earthquake, fewer say they're struggling to cope with all that's happened as a result of the earthquakes and more feel connected to greater Christchurch. Those are good signs of psychosocial recovery.”

Among the positive results:
Fewer respondents reported worrying about another big earthquake happening than in 2012 (45% in November 2014, 54% in November 2012).

Fewer respondents were struggling to deal with things that have happened as a result of the earthquakes than in 2012 (27% in November 2014, 46% in November 2012).

Fewer respondents ‘agreed' that they were tired of waiting for authorities or companies to fix their home than in 2012 (29% in November 2014, 42% in November 2012).

More respondents felt connected to greater Christchurch than in 2012 (54% in November 2014, 46% in November 2012).

More respondents reported giving time to helping others regularly (43% in November 2014, 36% November 2012).

However, Sue Turner says the region's psychosocial recovery is still facing some big challenges. “There is evidence the much talked about housing crisis is worsening with the research finding a growing number of people are finding it difficult to find somewhere appropriate to live. That's now sitting at 15% compared with 11% in November 2012.”

69% of those All Right? surveyed in 2012 had an insurance claim that was unsettled – that number has now dropped to 29%.

Public Health Specialist for the Canterbury District Health Board and All Right? Steering Group member Dr Lucy D'Aeth says clearly progress has been made but a major area of concern is for the mental health and wellbeing of those with unsettled insurance and EQC claims.

She says 29% of the research's respondents fell into this category and revealed that life is tougher for them than it is for those with settled claims.

“There are expected findings…such as those with unsettled claims being more likely to report that their current living situation is getting them down and that life is worse than before the quakes. But there are also some sad and perhaps-­‐unexpected findings like the fact they report more health issues, argue with their partner more and experience more financial problems.”

Those with unsettled EQC or insurance claims were more likely to:​
Be struggling to deal with things that have happened as a result of the earthquakes (47% not settled, compared to 18% settled).

Report their current living situation was getting them down (44% not settled, compared to 9% settled).

Be tired of waiting for authorities or companies to fix their home (69% not settled, compared to 14% settled).

Report that life was much worse than before the earthquakes (63% not settled, compared to 27% settled).

Report more health issues (46% not settled, compared to 32% settled).

Report that they argued with their partner more than before the earthquakes (19% not settled, compared to 9% settled).

Experience more financial problems (39% not settled, compared to 18% settled).

Be grieving more for what we have lost of Christchurch (74% not settled, compared to 51% settled).

Dr D'Aeth says the research shows just how hard it is to have an unsettled claim.

“Clearly the challenges go beyond living in a broken house. Unsettled claims are impacting on people's physical and mental health, relationships and finances.”

Dr D'Aeth says All Right? shares its research with EQC, the Insurance Council and other authorities.

“It is wonderful to see that many Cantabrians are faring better and their psychosocial recovery is well underway. What we need now is for those people to continue to support others who're still languishing.”

“As individuals we can't fix their problems but there are lots of little things we can do to help give them a boost…things like going out for coffee, catching up for a walk, picking some flowers from our garden or a phone call to check they're all right.”

“It's all about ensuring we don't permanently become a tale of two cities and that all our people recover from the devastating effects the earthquake has had too.”​​​

A summary of All Right research findings (PDF, 120kb)

For more information
Jo Scott
Communications Adviser, All Right? ​or 021 883 123


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Page last updated: 19 December 2018

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