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 interim Children’s Haematology and Oncology Centre (CHOC) opens

Monday 2 February 2015Media release4 minutes to read

Staff, patients and their families celebrated the opening of the new interim Children's Haematology and Oncology (CHOC) Centre at Christchurch Hospital on Friday (30 Jan).

Former patient 11-year-old Jock Davies helped guest of honour, Minister of Health Hon. Dr Jonathan Coleman cut the ribbon to officially open the unit.

Former patient 11-year-old Jock Davies helped guest of honour, Minister of Health Hon. Dr Jonathan Coleman cut the ribbon

Speaking at the event, Canterbury District Health Board CEO David Meates said the move into this temporary unit was a significant achievement for many reasons.

“This facility has been a very long time coming. In fact, this unit represents the third attempt to find a new home for some of our most vulnerable patients and their families,” Mr Meates said.

“We were all set to start construction before the first quake, and those plans were shelved when the site was deemed no longer suitable. Our second choice was to build on to the Riverside which didn't proceed, and this third option, was not without its challenges – however, I think despite the sacrifices and disruption for so many people, it's been worth the wait.”

It took 10 months to convert the former physiotherapy department on the Lower Ground Floor of the Clinical Services building.

“The early stages, in particular, were noisy and trying for everyone.

With the use of jackhammers, demolition, and work for seismic strengthening, at times it must have felt like it was never going to end.

“We appreciate how patient everyone has been. Despite the significant disruption, people have got on with their jobs – our staff and patients have become used to sharing the hospital with a constant stream of construction workers.

“I'm thrilled with the result and know it's going to be a fantastic home for CHOC until they move into the new Acute Services Building in 2018. At that time this facility will be used by another clinical service.”

A highlight of the opening was a video performance by some of the CHOC patients who put their spin on an old classic, Kung Fu Fighting. Half a dozen patients, and some CHOC staff, took part in the filming for the song one morning, and had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

Chrissy Bond, CHOC Charge Nurse Manager said everyone was excited to move into the unit, which has significantly more space than they are used to.

“It's fit for purpose and there is space for everything. It will enable staff to deliver care in a safe environment, with enhanced respect for privacy,” Chrissy said.

The new interim CHOC has 11 ensuite bedrooms, each equipped with pull down beds for parents and plenty of storage.

“The increased number of rooms, including a negative pressure bedroom and four positive pressure bedrooms, will enable more children to receive their care in CHOC without the need to overflow into the other paediatric wards. This includes children who may be infectious with ailments such as colds or chicken pox.”

The dedicated outpatient area has separate treatment and isolation rooms, a play area with an isolation zone and an area set aside especially for teenagers to receive their treatment.

The availability of family spaces, including a lounge with a fully equipped kitchen, will assist children and their families to maintain their daily routine. They'll be able to eat meals in the dining area and keep up with school work while undergoing treatment.

Dr Amanda Lyver, Canterbury DHB CHOC Clinical Director and Paediatric Oncologist, said Ronald McDonald House has sponsored the parents' lounge and will keep the kitchen's freezer stocked with meals for parents who need them.

“Thank you to Sony New Zealand for its generous donation of five TVs for the inpatient rooms, age-appropriate video games and a 48″ TV for the parents' lounge,” Dr Lyver said.

“As more than 50 percent of children treated in CHOC come from outside the Canterbury region, parents and children from throughout the South Island and the lower half of the North Island will appreciate the new unit.”


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Page last updated: 19 December 2018

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