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

Post-quakes pressures on Canterbury continue to shake the health system

Tuesday 23 February 2016Media release3 minutes to read

The latest national health target results show a Canterbury health system that is continuing to deliver for its population despite being under increasing pressure.

Canterbury DHB has continued to perform well against four of the Government's six targets during quarter two of 2015/16 with elective services at 98 percent of target (projected to hit target by the end of the financial year) and more Heart and Diabetes checks at 85 percent of target.

David Meates, Canterbury DHB chief executive, says the health system continues to be operating in a very fragile state and there's no sign of it easing anytime soon.

“While I'm incredibly proud of what we've achieved in the past five years – it's been nothing short of remarkable – five years on we are still operating in an environment that is a long way from being business as usual. This health system continues to strive to do the best for its community despite the very disrupted environment that we work within,” he says.

Mr Meates says Canterbury's integration efforts with primary and community organisations remain key to ensuring it can deliver world class care to Cantabrians.

“It is impressive Canterbury continues to achieve the Emergency Department (ED) health target with 95 percent of people admitted, discharged or transferred from ED within six hours, despite growing demand.”

Younger adults, particularly those non-enrolled aged 25-29 years, are driving demand with ED attendances increasing 46 percent for this age group since 2014.

“This reflects the rebuild population. The DHB is not funded for the workers who have come in from overseas to help with the rebuild. We have an increased focus on capturing home addresses and ensuring this group is provided with appropriate information about where to seek primary care, rather than defaulting to ED.”

Mr Meates says it is also encouraging to see the majority of Cantabrians are prioritising immunisation for their children.

Quarter two results show Canterbury exceeded the 95 percent immunisation target by vaccinating 96 percent of eligible children.

“Immunisation is one of the best ways to protect our vulnerable communities and the results are a credit to the efforts of our primary care teams.”

Meanwhile there's also been increased efforts to deliver and improve on key targets Canterbury has not achieved in quarter two.

Canterbury delivered 98.5 percent (10,338) elective surgical discharges of the elective target in quarter two.

Mr Meates says a plan is in place to ensure we achieve our elective targets.

Other efforts remain on the faster cancer treatment target. In quarter two Canterbury improved five percent to 77 of patients receiving their first cancer treatment within 62 days of referral. The target is 85 percent.

“Work is ongoing to improve the capture and quality of our data, which should affect performance over the next two quarters. We continue to achieve the previous Faster Cancer Treatment target of 100 percent of patients ready to treat within four weeks.”

Canterbury DHB also continues to work closely with the Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) to actively support the delivery of the primary care health targets.

Go to the Canterbury DHB website to find out more about our performance this quarter. ​



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Page last updated: 19 December 2018

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