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 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 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

Surgery deferred as Christchurch Hospital tops 112% occupancy

Tuesday 31 May 2022Canterbury DHB News3 minutes to read

Influenza vaccinations now available

Influenza vaccinations now available

Planned care, including some major surgery has had to be postponed today due to extremely high levels of acutely unwell people needing to be admitted to hospital.  The situation is made more difficult as Canterbury DHB is also experiencing high levels of staff sickness.

Senior Responsible Officer for COVID-19, Becky Hickmott says today Canterbury has 1200 new cases of COVID-19.  “We know the real number will be much bigger than that and the demand for care is impacting general practice teams, our urgent care practices, hospitals and health centres.

“More than 170 of our staff are off with COVID-19 today. We’ve had an average of 200 staff off with COVID-19 every day for some weeks now. This is in addition to high levels of sick leave being taken by health staff right across the system for other illnesses and to care for dependents.  With flu now circulating in Canterbury there’s another serious virus out there affecting staff and the wider community,” Becky Hickmott said. 

“It’s not too late to get your flu vaccination, COVID-19 booster or MMR immunisations. By having your vaccinations and staying well this winter, you’ll help keep health services free for those who need urgent care,” Becky Hickmott said.

Christchurch Hospital’s Chief of Surgery, Greg Robertson says surgical teams are extremely disappointed at having to defer people’s surgery, often at short notice. “We don’t take these decisions lightly, and each case is carefully considered before a decision to defer is made,” Greg Robertson said. 

“We were just starting to gear up again after our COVID-19 surgery slowdown, and this week our hospitals are full of very unwell people with a range of medical and surgical conditions. 

“We’re currently sitting at 112% occupancy which means we have more patients than resourced beds, so our focus is on increasing the flow of patients through our system. 

Christchurch Hospital ED is seeing high numbers of people (380 people in the past 24 hours) and 30% of those coming to ED are so unwell they need to be admitted to hospital.  This means our available beds are filling up fast and there’s no additional capacity to accommodate planned surgical patients. 

“Reducing the amount of planned surgery we carry out is the only way we can continue to provide safe care to those who need it,” Greg Robertson said. “To those whose surgery has been deferred today, and to those we will have to postpone this week please accept my sincere apologies on behalf of the team.  I know how disappointing and disruptive it is to hear that news.

“Once we have passed this period of intense acute demand, we will start rebooking people when we can have greater confidence that their surgery will be able to go ahead.  We are working with the private hospitals in Canterbury to increase surgical capacity wherever possible.  All we can say is sorry, as right now we need to focus our efforts of people coming through the front door needing hospital level care, while preserving some capacity for acute (unplanned) surgery,” Greg Robertson said.


For further information, contact:


Related topics

Back to Health News

Page last updated: 31 May 2022

Is this page useful?