Hospital visitors don’t need a Vaccine Pass, but must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for visiting guidelines, COVID-19 tests current case numbers in regions of Canterbury and care in the community advice. See for info about vaccinations.

We are at ORANGE according to the NZ COVID-19 Protection Framework

Last updated:
19 April 2022

For visitors to all facilities effective from Tuesday 19 April 2022

With the change to the ORANGE Traffic Light setting, Canterbury DHB is easing its visitor policy in recognition of the fact we have passed the peak of the current Omicron outbreak and case numbers are slowly reducing.

The following visitor restrictions are now in place for all Canterbury DHB hospitals and health facilities:

  • One adult visitor may be accompanied by no more than one child over the age of 12 per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.  No children under 12 and those 12 and over must be accompanied by an adult and wear a medical mask.
  • Visitors or support people should not visit our facilities if they are unwell.
  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all Canterbury DHB sites and will be provided if people don’t have them.
  • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

By adhering to these conditions, 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 (ie more than one visitor) where a trusted whānau member provides 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 – 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 support people, and women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Womens 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 children are allowed to visit.
  • 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, following a supervised negative RAT result)
  • Children who are inpatients, one other visitor (other than a parent or caregiver) is able to visit in consultation with the nurse in charge.
  • 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.

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.

Face covering exemption cards

The Exemptions Team at the Ministry of Health is now responsible for processing requests for Face Covering Communication Cards.

Updated information about mask wearing, and how to request an exemption card can now be found here. People unable to request an exemption card online can call 0800 28 29 26 and select option 2, or text 8988

Patients and visitors should also read the additional more detailed visiting guidelines for each specific hospital.

More COVID-19 information

Oxford Rural Community Hospital to reopen in June

Wednesday 18 May 2022Canterbury DHB News2 minutes to read

Patients in Canterbury rural health facilities to be temporarily relocated

Canterbury DHB will reopen Oxford Rural Community Hospital in mid-June.

Becky Hickmott, Executive Director of Nursing, says that the Oxford facility will reopen first because there is limited capacity in other aged care settings in Oxford. The majority of the residents are from this facility and there is staff capacity in Oxford to provide care for the seven residents who wish to return.

In the districts that surround Waikari, Ellesmere and Darfield rural community hospitals, there are beds available in other local Aged Residential Care facilities, and until we have sufficient staff to ensure the safe and appropriate care of their residents, their reopening will unfortunately be further delayed.

We continue to see widespread and elevated COVID-19 infection rates among our staff and our Canterbury community, including in the areas affected by these temporary closures. Residents were relocated to other facilities because Canterbury DHB could not guarantee staffing levels that would enable these rural community hospitals and local aged care facilities to provide safe and appropriate care.

“The current circumstances require a discussion with our rural communities on how we might deliver an improved mix of services in these rural areas that makes the best possible use of our resources and allows some services to be provided closer to home,” says Becky.

Canterbury District Health Board is committed to investing in rural communities and wants to work in partnership with them, and our staff who know their communities best, to develop a future service model based on modern, evidence-based practice.

A working group comprising clinical and operational staff, together with community representation will be convened to develop a proposal on a possible future model of care in these communities.

“We are aiming to share the proposal in four to six weeks’ time. We will then be looking for feedback, initially from staff. There also will be a process for listening to the views of the current residents and their families and later, the wider community,” says Becky.

“In the meantime, our focus will be on ensuring a smooth and welcoming return home for the seven residents coming back to the Oxford Community Hospital.”

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Page last updated: 18 May 2022

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