Hospital visitors don’t need a Vaccine Pass, but must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for visiting guidelines, COVID-19 tests current case numbers in regions of Canterbury and care in the community advice. See for info about vaccinations.

We are at ORANGE according to the NZ COVID-19 Protection Framework

Last updated:
19 April 2022

For visitors to all facilities effective from Tuesday 19 April 2022

With the change to the ORANGE Traffic Light setting, Canterbury DHB is easing its visitor policy in recognition of the fact we have passed the peak of the current Omicron outbreak and case numbers are slowly reducing.

The following visitor restrictions are now in place for all Canterbury DHB hospitals and health facilities:

  • One adult visitor may be accompanied by no more than one child over the age of 12 per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.  No children under 12 and those 12 and over must be accompanied by an adult and wear a medical mask.
  • Visitors or support people should not visit our facilities if they are unwell.
  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all Canterbury DHB sites and will be provided if people don’t have them.
  • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

By adhering to these conditions, 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 (ie more than one visitor) where a trusted whānau member provides 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 – 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 support people, and women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Womens 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 children are allowed to visit.
  • 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, following a supervised negative RAT result)
  • Children who are inpatients, one other visitor (other than a parent or caregiver) is able to visit in consultation with the nurse in charge.
  • 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.

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.

Face covering exemption cards

The Exemptions Team at the Ministry of Health is now responsible for processing requests for Face Covering Communication Cards.

Updated information about mask wearing, and how to request an exemption card can now be found here. People unable to request an exemption card online can call 0800 28 29 26 and select option 2, or text 8988

Patients and visitors should also read the additional more detailed visiting guidelines for each specific hospital.

More COVID-19 information

“Keep the Emergency Department for emergencies only” is the message from clinicians as we head into winter.

Monday 30 May 2022Canterbury DHB News4 minutes to read

Influenza vaccinations now available

Influenza vaccinations now available

“Keep the Emergency Department for emergencies only” is the message from clinicians as we head into winter.

Following an increase in viral respiratory illness being seen in the community, Christchurch Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) continues to experience a high number of presentations. Over the weekend, we saw more than 700 people present at ED which led to long wait times for those with less serious illnesses and today is expected to remain busy into the evening.

ED Clinical Director Dr Mark Gilbert says it would be incredibly helpful if people make use of the various care options available to them or managed minor ailments at home if they don’t have serious emergency needs.

“This will enable our ED staff to focus on those who really need emergency care and continue to provide quality care, particularly over weekends,” says Dr Gilbert.

“I would like to emphasise though, that if you are really unwell, we want to see you at ED.”

If you’re worried about yourself, or someone in your whanau who has a respiratory illness, see the checklist here of symptoms to watch out for, and when you should seek medical advice.

Canterbury DHB’s Senior Responsible Officer for Winter Planning, Becky Hickmott says influenza is now circulating in our community and DHB and community healthcare staff are also being affected by winter illnesses.

“Please get your flu jab and if your symptoms worsen, phone Healthline or your general practice team for advice first rather than heading straight to ED. Early advice can prevent you becoming so unwell that hospital is your only option.

“It’s really important that we keep up the healthy habits that can prevent illness from spreading such as physical distancing and wearing masks. Help our clinical teams and our most vulnerable people by keeping up all the really great habits we have learnt over the past two years.

“Your general practice or healthcare provider should be your first port of call if your health issue is not an emergency.  Please plan ahead as much as possible for your routine health care, and book early. Your usual healthcare provider will offer some urgent appointments when required. It’s important to call your General Practice team if you’re concerned.

‘If after hours care is needed people are encouraged to phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free health advice 24/7 or visit one of the Urgent Care centres in Canterbury. If people come to ED with something that could be treated by a GP or with advice from a pharmacist they may be advised of alternative options. People with non-emergency conditions are likely to experience a long wait to be seen in ED and at Urgent Care centres as we need to triage everyone presenting to ensure those in the greatest need, with life-threatening conditions are seen first,” Becky Hickmott said.

Christchurch Hospital’s ED is the sole emergency medical facility in the city and one of the busiest in Australasia.

Trusted health advice

You can also visit our HealthInfo website or your community pharmacy for health advice.

HealthInfo is a health information website that has information specific to Canterbury. It is written and approved by local doctors, practice nurses, hospital clinicians, and other healthcare professionals and features a mix of health information, fact sheets on different topics and descriptions of local health services.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, it is important that people keep up their healthy habits:

  • Wearing masks in all indoor settings
  • Maintaining physical distancing
  • Opening  windows and doors to increase ventilation wherever possible
  • Practising good hygiene by regularly and thoroughly washing or sanitising your hands
  • Staying home if you’re unwell
  • Taking a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) if you have COVID-19 symptoms or you are a close household contact of a positive case
  • Reporting your test results on My COVID Record (
  • Ensuring all your immunisations are up to date – including your flu immunisation and COVID-19 booster.

A reminder that visitor restrictions remain in place at DHB facilities:


For further information, contact:


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Page last updated: 30 May 2022

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