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

Heading to Hospital? From 24 August, Canterbury DHB’s Hospital Shuttle is changing location

Thursday 13 August 2020Media release3 minutes to read

The free shuttle is on the move from 24 August

The free shuttle is on the move from 24 August

For detailed information about the Deans Avenue car park and hospital shuttle including shuttle bus times and parking payment options, see

Canterbury DHB’s popular Hospital Shuttle, which has carried more than one and a quarter million passengers since it was set up in late October 2014, will run from the new Deans Ave Car Park from Monday August 24.

With 200 patient and visitor car parks and up to 150 new staff car parks, the new site will provide clean, sealed, lit and secure car parking plus a covered stop for those waiting for the shuttle.

Canterbury DHB Chief Executive, David Meates says this gives us dedicated patient, visitor and staff parking for Christchurch Hospital.

“We’re aware that it’s not always easy for our patients and visitors to get a park in the Lichfield St car park. With the Deans Ave car park there will be ample parking spaces for patients and visitors with reliable and regular transport for them to and from the hospital with our shuttle service,” David says.

The free Hospital Shuttle runs every 15 minutes, from 7.15am – 8.30pm Monday to Friday and 11.00am – 8.00pm weekends, with a lunch break on weekends for the driver from 2.30 pm to 3.15pm when no shuttle will operate.

A new and sophisticated ticketing system will be installed similar to that used at Lichfield St and rates will be slightly lower than those charged currently. 

“We are returning to a location that is already familiar – although much improved – and the Deans Ave location means patients and visitors can avoid the city centre when travelling to their appointments. The car park will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and will be well lit and secure.

“The journey time on the shuttle should be the same as from Lichfield St or slightly quicker, as there are fewer traffic lights for the shuttles to negotiate,” says David.

More information will shortly be available at  



  • The Deans Avenue car park will be leased from Fulton Hogan and managed by Wilson Parking.
  • Patient and visitor parking rates will be slightly lower than those at the current location.
  • Staff parking will be for existing staff on the parking wait list and those moved from the Staff Car Parking Building on the corner of Antigua St and St Asaph.
  • The Canterbury DHB Hospital Shuttle Service will run between Deans Ave and Christchurch hospital and outpatients, using four shuttle buses.
  • The free Hospital Shuttle runs every 15 minutes, from 7.15am – 8.30pm Monday to Friday and 11.00am – 8.00pm weekends, with a lunch break on weekends for the driver from 2.30 pm to 3.15pm when no shuttle will operate.

Canterbury DHB’s Hospital Shuttle will be running from the Deans Avenue car park from 24 August 2020

Canterbury DHB’s Hospital Shuttle will be running from the Deans Avenue car park from 24 August 2020




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Page last updated: 27 October 2020

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