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

Leighs Construction announced as lead contractor for new mental health facilities at Hillmorton

Monday 30 November 2020Media release4 minutes to read

An artist's impression of the integrated family services centre

Canterbury DHB is pleased to announce Leigh’s Construction has been appointed as the lead contractor for the $81.8m project constructing two new facilities to house relocated Specialist Mental Health Services on the Hillmorton campus.

Leighs Construction has been part of previous projects for Canterbury DHB including the five-storey Outpatient Building on Oxford Terrace and the Burwood Hospital redevelopments.

This appointment is the first major development in construction on the Hillmorton campus and signals the implementation of the long term Master Plan for mental health facilities. Construction of a High and Complex Needs unit and an Integrated Family Services Centre is expected to begin in early January and both should be ready for patients in late November 2022.

Work has already begun on site, with the North Car Park expected to be completed mid-December. The first stage of water bore drilling on the main green is almost complete. This is essential to provide an efficient and environmentally friendly heating and cooling source for our new buildings through ground source heat pumps. The original project did not have a budget for Green Star certification, however, an application was made to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and funding was secured and the buildings are now designed to meet the four star Green Star criteria making them environmentally friendly.  

Leighs Construction Managing Director Anthony Leighs said the Leighs team were proud to be entrusted with another important Canterbury DHB health project and are very much looking forward delivering these projects which will make such a difference for people seeking treatment, care and support from Specialist Mental Health teams.

Integrated Family Services Centre

The new Integrated Family Services Centre (IFSC) will bring the Mothers & Babies and Eating Disorders services and the Child and Family Inpatient Unit from The Princess Margaret Hospital.

The Centre will house a 16-bed inpatient and day patient child, adolescent and family service, a 13 bed and 5-7 cot mothers and babies unit, along with eating disorders inpatient and outpatient services.

The IFSC unit will support a contemporary model of care in a modern, therapeutic environment. Centralised courtyards, single rooms and flexible spaces will be a massive improvement on current facilities and will bring our services in line with world class facilities for our families.

Patients will be homed in a warm, welcoming and friendly environment with spaces designed to enhance family interaction and healing.

High and Complex Needs Unit

An artist's impression of the new High and Complex Needs facility

The High and Complex Needs unit will bring the existing Seager Clinic, currently at The Princess Margaret Hospital, onto the Hillmorton campus.

This unit will provide 16 adult inpatient beds for a range of treatment options including long term and intensive rehabilitation.

Featuring a welcoming warm and homely feel, the unit is designed to enhance patient’s privacy and dignity with a range of spaces for patient, family whanau and staff use. With lots of natural light and a connection to outdoor spaces with centralised courtyards, the unit Is designed not only for our current patients, but will cater for future patient groups and changing health care needs.

Hillmorton Campus is the home of specialist mental health services for Canterbury.

Care and support is provided for people from throughout our community and our specialist services are more in demand now than ever before.

Canterbury DHB is confident that this partnership with Leighs Construction will ensure a solid future for our mental health services. 

The Hillmorton campus is embarking on a journey that will see many of its buildings and facilities improved, modernised and transformed. The aim is to create an environment that makes it easier to support people’s treatment and recovery.



Related topics

Back to Health News

Page last updated: 1 December 2020

Is this page useful?