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

Project SEARCH Graduation: Canterbury teens with learning disabilities given chance to enter workforce

Wednesday 4 December 2019Media release4 minutes to read

Our eight graduation interns. Back (left to right): Jason Laurie, Ethan Hamilton-Currey, Finn Lean-Massey, Tor Poulter, Ricky Reeves. Front (left to right): Emelia Guthrie, Hayley Butler and Deanna Rogers.

Our eight graduation interns. Back (left to right): Jason Laurie, Ethan Hamilton-Currey, Finn Lean-Massey, Tor Poulter, Ricky Reeves.
Front (left to right): Emelia Guthrie, Hayley Butler and Deanna Rogers.

The first intake of eight interns with learning disabilities have completed Project SEARCH with Canterbury DHB, graduating from the programme today.

The year-long pilot, hosted at Burwood Hospital, was a first for Australasia when it launched in January giving eight local young people, aged between 18 and 21 years old, the opportunity to learn skills and gain experience in the real world of work.

Designed to break down barriers to employment for young people with disabilities, the programme sees each intern work across three 10-week placements in areas including IT, administration, kitchen and food services, orderly services, in the physiotherapy, spinal and older persons mental health departments, or in maintenance and stores.

Today’s graduation ceremony saw the interns graduate from the programme with a certificate of completion and a celebration of their individual portfolio of achievements from the year, including a video and photos.

Canterbury DHB Chief People Officer Michael Frampton said the programme is an important initiative that’s part of Canterbury DHB’s efforts to ensure our workplaces are inclusive and that we celebrate diversity.

“Canterbury DHB is committed to creating a workforce that understands and reflects the communities we care for. Of more than 200,000 Kiwis with disabilities who are unemployed – three quarters of them want to be working, but can’t get jobs.  Project SEARCH has enabled us to be part of the change we want to see.

“We’ve been able to equip our interns with real, meaningful work experience and they’ve repaid us in spades by nailing their jobs. The grit, determination and work ethic they’ve shown this year has been inspiring for everyone in our organisation.

“You’d be hard pressed to find more motivated, loyal and hard-working young people. We’ve already seen benefits to our organisation, like improving our processes and policies to be more inclusive, and seeing an even stronger sense of community in those areas where the interns are working. The business case for diversity and inclusion is really clear.

“I’m incredibly proud of what our interns, their tutors and mentors have achieved. They’ve learnt a range of skills and they’ve proven not just that they’re employable but that they can succeed as part of teams to make workplaces even better,” says Michael.

Ricky Reeves, one of our graduating interns who was left legally blind after he had a brain tumour removed when he was nine years old, says Project SEARCH has given him hope he can have a career.

“I had been told previously that people won’t hire me because I can’t see, and it’s too hard. Project SEARCH lets me show everyone I can do it, that blind people can actually do the same jobs as non-blind people.

“My first internship was in admin where I did jobs like binding, photocopying, making up information folders and sending out letters. Then I worked in IT doing special projects around testing telephone lines and beepers. I’ve also done quite a few presentations about Project SEARCH to different groups of people,” Ricky says.

However, the journey with Project SEARCH doesn’t end here. The class of 2019 will continue to receive support through the programme over the next twelve months as they prepare for work, and eight new interns will start the programme with the DHB in February next year.

Canterbury DHB Project SEARCH is a collaboration between the IHC Foundation, CCS Disability Action, Low Vision and Blind NZ, Riccarton High School and WorkBridge.

More information about Project SEARCH can be found here.



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Page last updated: 4 December 2019

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