All hospital visitors are recommended to wear a medical face mask. Expand this message for information about visiting hospital.

Last updated:
13 March 2023


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.

Some visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury hospitals and health facilities remain in place, but we have relaxed others.

There is still a heightened risk to vulnerable people in hospital and so we recommend all people wear a mask when visiting any of our facilities and follow other advice designed to keep patients, staff and  visitors safe.

Kia whakahaumaru te whānau, me ngā iwi katoa – this is to keep everybody safe:

  • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell. Do not visit if you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and haven’t completed your isolation period.
  • Patients may have more than one visitor, except in some situations such as multi-bed rooms where it can cause overcrowding.
  • Surgical/medical masks are recommended be worn at all sites. Masks will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • For Specialist Mental Health Services everyone is strongly encouraged to wear a face mask in all inpatient areas and areas where consumers are receiving care (i.e. community appointments, home-visits, transporting people). Discretion may be applied in cases where masks impair your ability to communicate effectively.
  • Visitors must not eat or drink in multibed rooms because of the increased risk when multiple people remove their face mask in the same space.
  • Hand sanitiser is available and must be used.

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.

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • People can visit patients who have COVID-19 but they must wear an N95 mask – this will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, Facetime, Zoom, WhatsApp etc where visits aren’t possible.

All of our Hospitals

Visiting hours for our hospitals have returned to pre COVID-19 hours with the exception of Christchurch Women’s Hospital.

All visitors are recommended to wear a medical face mask.

Parents/caregivers are able to be with their child in hospital and visitors are now allowed, except for the Children’s Haematology and Oncology Day stay where just one parent/caregiver is able to attend their appointment with their child. Exceptions by special arrangement only.

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 2022Media release4 minutes to read

THIS IS AN ARCHIVED PAGE. The advice and information contained in this page may not be current and it should only be used for historical reference purposes.

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: 5 October 2022

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