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

Progress towards Akaroa IFHC

Wednesday 19 August 2015Media release3 minutes to read

Canterbury DHB has begun consultation on its proposal to sell land on the Akaroa Hospital site to support the development of a new Integrated Family Health Centre (IFHC) in the town.

As is legally required, the DHB is proposing to sell just over an acre of land, part of the old ‘Akaroa Hospital site'.

David Meates, Canterbury DHB's CEO, says the DHB is encouraging the community and interested parties to say what they think about the proposal over the next few weeks.

“We look forward to hearing your views on the proposal to sell the land as a significant step towards the development of the IFHC,” Mr Meates says.

He says the intention is to sell the land to a limited liability partnership, created specifically to support the development of a community-owned IFHC on the Akaroa Hospital site.

The partners would be the Akaroa Community Trust, Canterbury DHB and Ngāi Tahu Property Limited.

“If the sale goes ahead, the sale and lease terms will specify that the land must be used for the delivery of IFHC-based health and support services.

“Community ownership and governance would also support the continued use of the land for health purposes.”

Mr Meates says it's an important step towards ensuring the community has the right care, in the right place, at the right time by the right person.

“IFHCs support a wide range of services, closer to people's homes. They also have the potential to provide some services traditionally delivered in hospitals,” he says.

Meanwhile Canterbury DHB is also giving advance notice of plans to start demolition of the old Akaroa Hospital next month. It was damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes.

“Work is expected to start soon with input from Ōnuku Rūnanga to ensure Māori protocols are followed during demolition.”

Mr Meates says the work has been on the cards for some time.

“The demolition is in no way second-guesses the outcome of the consultation and the timing is purely coincidental – demolition of the old hospital was always part of the plan,” he says.

“I recognise many will be sad to see the demolition of a building that has served its community well over the years. I sincerely hope that once the site has been cleared, people will be better able to visualise a bright future for Akaroa health services.”​

Feedback on the the proposed sale of land is sought via an electronic submission form at the end of the consultation document that can be found at

People can also obtain a hard copy from the Akaroa Library or Akaroa Health Centre until 5pm on 11 September when the consultation period ends.


Back to Health News

Page last updated: 19 December 2018

Is this page useful?