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

Quarter 2 health targets – still a challenge for health to stay on top in a post-quake environment

Tuesday 24 February 2015Media release4 minutes to read

The Canterbury District Health Board continues improving on the National Health Targets particularly in prevention and early detection of disease despite ongoing post-quake challenges.

The National Health Targets report for quarter 2 was released today and results show more Cantabrians are receiving advice and support for smoking cessation and heart and diabetes checks.

In this quarter, 86.7 percent of smokers attending primary care received advice to quit – which is a 6 percent increase on the previous quarter and is almost double the previous year's quarter 2 result of 49 percent.

Canterbury also has had the largest increase of all health boards in the More Heart and Diabetes Checks target – with 76.7 percent of eligible patients receiving a check – a 5.6 percent increase on quarter 1 and up more than 30 percent on the year before.

David Meates, Canterbury DHB Chief Executive, says efforts to ensure our community is kept well and in their own homes through prevention and early detection of disease are nothing short of dedicated.

“It's remarkable how our results have gone from strength to strength in the past year and this reflects the commitment, collaboration and integration across the Canterbury Health System.

“I continue to be impressed by, and thankful for, the efforts and achievements of staff in the context of a still challenging environment of hospital redevelopment and post-quake recovery.”

Mr Meates says the Canterbury is faced with significant challenges four years on from the earthquakes.

“Many of the associated health impacts post a major disaster are panning out in the community – particularly in mental health. While it's amazing to see things coming together with the rebuild – there's also a whole set of new challenges emerging for the Canterbury Health System.”

Mr Meates says one major challenge is the continued growth in presentations to Christchurch Hospital's Emergency Department.

“Since the quakes and the influx of about 30,000 workers to Christchurch, use of our Emergency Department has spiked 50 percent for the 25-29 age group and almost 30 percent for the 20-24 year old age group.”

“Remarkably staff met the target in quarter 2 for Shorter Stays in ED with 95 percent of patients admitted, discharged or transferred from ED within six hours – but if numbers continue to climb it only increases waiting times, contributing to crowding and placing ED staff under greater pressure.”

Meanwhile Mr Meates says overall the DHB's performance in all targets was strong.

“It's about having the initiatives and integration in place to enable us to do that.

“For example, in the last year Canterbury provided care to 30,000 people in the community who in any other parts of the country would otherwise have been admitted to hospital.”

“Keeping everything we do patient centric keeps us focused on our six key priorities to ensure our system is running as efficiently as it can be.”

The five priorities and key spotlight area :

Frail Older Person's Pathway – better support for frail older people both in an out of hospital
Theatre Utilisation – capacity remains a major constraint until the new hospital is built. Clinicians are focused on improving the performance and productivity of operating theatres, reducing cancellations, improving patient flow and achieving shorter waiting times for patients before their treatment and ensure no time is wasted in the system
Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS) – supports early recovery and discharge from hospital and reduced waiting times
Faster Cancer Treatment – timely access and better links across the health system to improve care;
Outpatient and Surgical Flow (100 days) – aiming to provide a patient's first appointment with a specialist or surgical treatment within 100 days (to a maximum of four months)
Mental Health – services are coming under increased pressure and the DHB has prioritised ensuring we can meet the needs of the community.
Targets at a glance:

Increased immunisation – this target rose from 90 percent at June 30 2014, to 95 percent by December 31. Canterbury achieved immunisation rates of 93.49 percent of eligible children, while five percent of parents or caregivers of the eligible population declined or opted out of the free immunisation programme
Faster cancer treatment – a new target was introduced this quarter. The target is 85 percent of patients receiving their first cancer treatment within 62 days of being referred with a high suspicion of cancer. Canterbury achieved 68 percent against a national average of 65.8 percent. Canterbury continues to meet the previous target of 100 percent of cancer patients who are ready for treatment, getting it within a month
Improved access to Elective Surgery – Canterbury delivered 97.4 percent of its elective surgery target this quarter, and expected to increase numbers over the next few quarters
Better help for smokers to quit – hospitalised – Canterbury met the target of 95 per cent of eligible hospitalised smokers getting cessation advice and support.


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Page last updated: 19 December 2018

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