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 Christchurch Outpatients building to remain closed until Monday 15 April

Thursday 4 April 2019Media release3 minutes to read

Water is pumped out of the Outpatients building early on Monday morning

Please attribute comment to David Meates, Chief Executive, Canterbury District Health Board

Despite extraordinary efforts from a large team working to dry-out and fix the damage caused when fire-sprinklers drenched the interior of the new outpatients building last Friday 29 March, it will not be ready to open until Monday 15 April. 

This is extremely disappointing for our staff and for the thousands of people whose outpatient appointments will have to be postponed.

Last week we found temporary homes for the 300 staff who usually work in this building, and some services found temporary locations to provide the urgent clinics for people who needed to be seen urgently.

It really is heart-breaking to see the damage caused, and the additional pressure this flood has put on our staff and the delays it has caused to patient appointments. This is another disruption we could well do without.

While the clean-up and dry-out work has progressed well this week, it is now clear that the building will remain closed for another week until at least Monday 15 April to allow the necessary repairs and testing to be carried out to ensure it’s safe for staff and patients to reoccupy.

Unfortunately, this means we will have to continue to postpone and reschedule up to 700 outpatient appointments each day until the building is reopened. Anyone whose appointment has to be postponed and rescheduled will be contacted by phone or text.We are deeply concerned about the impact of this closure on the thousands of people affected. Everyone who has an outpatient appointment needs to be seen. Our patients have been referred for clinical reasons and delays to their assessments and treatments can be distressing.

Arrangements are continuing to be made for some urgent appointments for acutely unwell people to go ahead in alternative locations. Affected patients are being advised of the alternative location of their appointment.

Contacting and rescheduling so many appointments is a massive undertaking for our booking and administrative staff, and all of our teams are working extremely hard to get this building reopened on Monday 15 April. We apologise for the inconvenience this flood has caused. 

Background Information:

Early in the morning on Friday 29 March, steam from a burst heating pipe activated the fire sprinkler system which flooded the new Christchurch Outpatients building. There is significant damage to some walls, floors and ceilings which are now being replaced.

A new valve for the heating pipe is needed and all of the pipework throughout the building will need a hydraulic test before it is back in operation again.

*Please note that existing appointments at Christchurch Women’s, Christchurch Hospital or Burwood Hospital are not affected and are all going ahead.



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Page last updated: 5 April 2019

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