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

Immunisation Week 2017: Make sure your teens are protected

Monday 1 May 2017Media release3 minutes to read

Today marks the start of Immunisation Week (1-7 May) and Canterbury DHB is reminding parents to ensure their older children, teens, as well as any younger ones, are immunised. ​

Free immunisations are recommended for 11 year olds in Canterbury to protect against diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough and human papillomavirus (HPV). Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough vaccine is available free from general practices for those aged under 18, and HPV is available free up to the age of 27.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink says right now is a good time to make sure your child's vaccinations are up to date.

“Particularly as children are approaching high school age, it's important to remember that they need a further round of immunisations to protect them against preventable diseases into adulthood,” he says.

“This is also a key time for a young person's immune system which responds particularly well in forming immunity at around this age.”

If your child hasn't had these vaccinations, it's not too late, as diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough vaccine is available free from general practices for those aged under 18. HPV is available free for those aged under 27, but offers maximum benefit when received in early adolescence.

The change in the immunisation schedule at the start of 2017 saw the HPV vaccine eligibility widen to include males aged 11 – 26, which means this vaccine is now available for boys and girls.

“In Canterbury boys and girls can receive the vaccine from General Practice at 11 years of age, at the same time as their scheduled booster for diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough.

“Those aged 14 years or younger need two injections. The second injection is given at least six months after the first injection. Those aged between 15 and 26 years inclusive need three doses.”

Dr Pink says that as well as encouragement to immunise older children and teens, Immunisation Week is also an opportunity to inform parents about the upcoming availability of free chickenpox immunisation at age 15 months, starting from 1 July this year.

“Chickenpox is often a mild though unpleasant disease. However, it can lead to serious complications that result in a significant number of hospitalisations each year. It's great this vaccine is now going to be free, so we can do more to protect our young children from this disease.”


Frequently Asked Questions

What is HPV (Human Papilloma virus)?

  • HPV is a common virus that spreads through intimate skin to skin contact.
  • Most people will have an HPV infection at some point in their lives.
  • Most HPV infections are asymptomatic or appear to get better on their own. Some HPV infections however, don't get better, and can lead to cancer years later if they aren't detected early and treated.
  • The seven HPV types most likely to cause cancer and the two HPV types that cause most genital warts can be prevented by immunisation.

What cancers are caused by HPV?

  • Cancers caused by HPV affect both men and women, these can occur in various parts of the body, particularly the genital area, throat or mouth.
  • The most common in women is cervical cancer. The most common in men are cancers of the throat or mouth. 


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Page last updated: 3 October 2018

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