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

New Central City Primary Birthing Unit for Christchurch

Monday 20 December 2021Media release3 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.

New Central City Primary Birthing Unit for Christchurch

Norma Campbell, Executive Director – Midwifery and Maternity Services Canterbury and West Coast DHBs, is delighted to announce that a new central city primary birthing unit for Christchurch has been approved by the DHB Board and Minister of Health.

Primary birthing units provide a safe place where healthy pregnant people with no complications can give birth, then stay for a day or two afterwards, supported by family and whānau.

The new unit, which will have four birthing rooms, 20 post-natal rooms, a whānau room, an education room and six assessment rooms, will be located at 68 St Asaph Street by the Christchurch Hospital Campus.

“This is great news for our community as a central city birthing unit is something we have wanted for a long time,” says Norma.

“Māmā who birth in a primary unit, supported by a lead maternity carer (LMC), are more likely to have a normal birth. The units provide a more calming space than a tertiary hospital and the risks of complications are greatly reduced.

“The added bonus of this new facility is that it’s less than five minutes by car to Christchurch Women’s Hospital if a transfer is required.

“For Māori, local midwife-led care in a setting where whānau support is easily accommodated is a cultural expectation, so this new unit also presents an opportunity to improve the equity of our maternity care,” says Norma.

It is anticipated that the new unit will open in early 2023 and that 1000-2400 people will birth there each year.

Noordanus Architects have been engaged to complete the design of the unit, along with a project group to consider the concept plans. The project group includes Canterbury DHB maternity staff and LMCs including Māori midwives, along with Manawhenua Ki Waitaha representatives to ensure we have a culturally appropriate facility and service delivered in a Kaupapa Māori framework.

“It’s incredibly important that we have a more equitable service delivery that better meets the needs of our diverse population,” says Michelle Turrall, chair of Manawhenua Ki Waitaha.

“The design of the unit will reflect tikanga values, to preserve the tapu of childbirth and to keep everyone safe.”

The unit will be staffed by midwives employed by Canterbury DHB alongside LMCs who work in the community to support pregnant people throughout their pregnancy, birth and postnatal care. 

The building has been leased by Canterbury DHB and will undergo extensive re-design and fit out to transform it into a welcoming, modern, fit-for-purpose facility for māmā. It has ample parking as well as space to host LMC and obstetrics clinics.

More information about our birthing options in Canterbury can be found here



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Page last updated: 16 June 2022

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