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

Integration drives Canterbury Health System’s performance

Tuesday 26 May 2015Media release3 minutes to read

Integration efforts across the Canterbury Health System remain pivotal to Canterbury District Health Board's performance in meeting health targets.

The National Health Targets performance summary quarter three results for 2014/2015 show Canterbury has exceeded the Shorter Stays in ED target achieving 96 percent despite increasing demand and capacity restraints within the hospital.

David Meates, Canterbury DHB chief executive, says the “remarkable” result represents the ongoing integration of services across the health system, particularly for older people to help them stay well in their own homes for longer.

“Although attendance has grown continuously since the February 2011 earthquakes, we are seeing little growth among the older population, which is a reflection of the strategies to care for older people in their own homes and communities being well embedded,” Mr Meates says.

He says the biggest growth in attendances remain the younger adult population where there's been a 46 percent increase in non-enrolled patients aged 25-29 presenting to ED.

“We have increased focus on capturing home addresses appropriately and ensuring this group are provided with the right information on where to access primary care rather than defaulting to ED.”

Primary care efforts particularly from the 24 Hour Surgery on Bealey Ave, Moorhouse Medical and Riccarton Clinic play a key role in the Canterbury Health System successfully managing acute demand.

Other impressive results this quarter have been in our Improved Access to Elective Surgery delivering 100 percent of our target delivery (12,851 elective surgeries out of our 17,484 annual target).

“This is really outstanding given the theatre capacity constraints. It is a sign our priorities to improve patient flow, as well as ensuring we are tracking, monitoring and responding to any changes quickly, are working.

Performance exceeded the ‘Better Help for Hospitalised Smokers to Quit' target where the Canterbury DHB achieved 97 percent of the 95 percent target.

“There's been a big emphasis on staff education, documentation and referrals. Hospital staff are also being supported to take on roles to support smoking cessation previously held by the Smokefree control team.”

Quarter three has been a first for Canterbury in achieving the Increased Immunisation target of immunising 95 percent of eligible children.

“Low opt-off decline rates have contributed to this quarter's performance as well as targeted efforts by primary care.”

Canterbury DHB continues efforts towards the meeting the Primary Care Health Targets of Better Help for Smokers (83 percent) and More Heart and Diabetes Checks (78 percent).

“We are committed to working closely with our Primary Health Organisations to actively support the delivery of primary care Health Targets. Initiatives include ongoing education, enhanced clinical engagement, and supporting high risk populations.”

*Canterbury received an achieved based on improvement against the quarter two results. ​

More information about how Canterbury performed in the health targets can be found on our website.


Back to Health News

Page last updated: 19 December 2018

Is this page useful?