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

Key city agencies agree to urgently address parking around Christchurch Hospital

Friday 7 April 2017Media release3 minutes to read

Canterbury DHB chief executive David Meates, Christchurch City Council chief executive Karleen Edwards, and Otakaro Limited chief executive Albert Brantley met today to urgently address the lack of car parking around Christchurch Hospital.

All three parties agreed that there ​​will be a joined up approach and consistent messaging regarding parking options. ​

David Meates said it is recognised that parking around the hospital is going to remain challenging with construction happening across many sites at the same time. “This is creating additional pressures in terms of access and additional traffic volume, including contractors.

While it is great that the following construction projects are all happening:

  • Health Research Education Facility (HREF) – CDHB/ARA/University of Canterbury due for completion 2018
  • Outpatients – Ministry of Health completion 2018
  • Private Research Centre
  • Acute Services Building, followed by the next stages of the Christchurch Hospital developments – Ministry of Health
  • Metro Sports Centre – Otakaro
  • Tunnels (Hospital Corner)– Ministry of Health
  • Energy Centre – Ministry of Health

Maintaining access in and around this area is going to require a number of interim parking options to be in place over the next two to three years.

Mr Meates says all three agencies acknowledged the huge challenges facing patients, visitors and staff in terms of the limited parking options around Christchurch Hospital and a large number of construction and roading projects in the area that have come together to create a perfect storm.

“The meeting was very positive with all agreeing on a number of options aimed at helping relieve the car parking constraints affecting patients, visitors and staff coming into the city, especially to Christchurch Hospital,” he says.

“The three agencies are committed to improving the current situation and I'm confident we've come up with some good solutions and we all agree they need to be fast-tracked and underway as soon as possible.”

Mr Meates says the DHB is finalising leases for several sites near the hospital to provide around 240 additional parks for staff. The DHB is also exploring the feasibility of a number of other options.  Mr Meates says the three agencies agreed the council would second a staff member with parking expertise to work with Canterbury DHB and Otakaro to bring the solutions to life as soon as possible.

“We are also looking to extend the DHB's successful Park & Ride service to include the public and a range of sites are being explored. Otakaro and the Council have agreed to help with this process including exploring alternative locations.

“All agencies really have acknowledged that it's not easy for anyone coming and going in and around the Health Precinct side of the city but in order for it to be resolved, we need to all be working together to come up with some solutions.   

“But what has really concerned us all and has come to head, particularly in the last week, is the fact people's safety has been compromised because of the parking situation. We want to get this sorted as soon as possible.”  

In the meantime, Mr Meates says the Canterbury DHB has stepped up its security measures including reminders to staff to be extra vigilant when walking to and from their cars, to remember that a security guard is available to escort them, there's a mobile security patrol, and a new night shift shuttle starting during next week. Staff have been advised to contact security or police if they notice anyone acting suspiciously.



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Page last updated: 27 September 2018

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