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. 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

Patients in Canterbury rural health facilities to be temporarily relocated

Tuesday 1 March 2022Canterbury DHB News3 minutes to read

Patients in Canterbury rural health facilities to be temporarily relocated

As part of its COVID-19 contingency planning and with the support of the Board, Canterbury DHB will be temporarily closing four rural facilities due to the rapidly increasing number of cases in the community.

The facilities are Waikari, Darfield, Oxford and Ellesmere Hospitals and planning is underway to move 23 residents from these facilities to alternative private facilities.

Canterbury DHB COVID-19 ECC Incident Controller for the Canterbury Health System’s Omicron response, Tracey Maisey, says the DHB is having to make this decision now due to its ability to staff these facilities through the peak of the Omicron outbreak as staffing resources become strained.

“One of our main concerns was that during the outbreak we will not be able to sustain safe staffing levels with appropriately trained staff in these facilities, and this was a major risk that could have had a serious adverse impact on our residents. 

“We are therefore moving with urgency to assess each patient and connect with residents’ families or next of kin to decide on a suitable alternative facility for each resident. We take our responsibility for their care very seriously and will do everything we can to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

“We appreciate that relocating older people is disruptive and may be upsetting for them. However, we need to ensure that they are living somewhere that is well set up and has the staff resources to make sure they will be well looked after during the pandemic, Ms Maisey says.

“Finding suitably-qualified, local staff in rural areas can be very challenging, which is why we need to look after and make the best use of our people.  As part of our whole-of-system response plan, we will be working with the staff from the facilities we have closed temporarily to identify areas they can be redeployed to, to support the sustainable delivery of services – either within Canterbury DHB or with local community providers, where their skills as nursing and care providers are needed.”

Ms Maisey says this relocation of residents is not ideal and will have its challenges, but the support and assistance of family members is being welcomed and appreciated.

“We will take care and be sensitive to the needs and concerns of patients and family to ensure a smooth transition. We will be looking to relocate them as soon as a new home for each resident is agreed. The move to their new home will be temporary. Residents should be back in these hospital facilities within six weeks of the Omicron outbreak’s peak,” says Ms Maisey. 

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Page last updated: 1 March 2022

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