All hospital visitors are recommended to wear a medical face mask. Expand this message for information about visiting hospital.

Last updated:
13 March 2023


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.

Some visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury hospitals and health facilities remain in place, but we have relaxed others.

There is still a heightened risk to vulnerable people in hospital and so we recommend all people wear a mask when visiting any of our facilities and follow other advice designed to keep patients, staff and  visitors safe.

Kia whakahaumaru te whānau, me ngā iwi katoa – this is to keep everybody safe:

  • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell. Do not visit if you have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and haven’t completed your isolation period.
  • Patients may have more than one visitor, except in some situations such as multi-bed rooms where it can cause overcrowding.
  • Surgical/medical masks are recommended be worn at all sites. Masks will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • For Specialist Mental Health Services everyone is strongly encouraged to wear a face mask in all inpatient areas and areas where consumers are receiving care (i.e. community appointments, home-visits, transporting people). Discretion may be applied in cases where masks impair your ability to communicate effectively.
  • Visitors must not eat or drink in multibed rooms because of the increased risk when multiple people remove their face mask in the same space.
  • Hand sanitiser is available and must be used.

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.

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • People can visit patients who have COVID-19 but they must wear an N95 mask – this will be provided if you don’t have one.
  • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, Facetime, Zoom, WhatsApp etc where visits aren’t possible.

All of our Hospitals

Visiting hours for our hospitals have returned to pre COVID-19 hours with the exception of Christchurch Women’s Hospital.

All visitors are recommended to wear a medical face mask.

Parents/caregivers are able to be with their child in hospital and visitors are now allowed, except for the Children’s Haematology and Oncology Day stay where just one parent/caregiver is able to attend their appointment with their child. Exceptions by special arrangement only.

Patients and visitors should also read the additional more detailed visiting guidelines for each specific hospital.

More COVID-19 information

Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury to postpone outpatient appointments to free up staff to work in acute care

Thursday 14 July 2022Media release4 minutes to read

THIS IS AN ARCHIVED PAGE. The advice and information contained in this page may not be current and it should only be used for historical reference purposes.

Patients in Canterbury rural health facilities to be temporarily relocated

New measures to alleviate the pressure on health services in Waitaha are being put in place, says Dr Peter Bramley, Interim District Director, Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury.

A System Wide Incident Management Team (IMT) has been stood up to manage the significant demand on the Canterbury Health System at present. There are a number of factors which are impacting on our ability to provide timely planned care.  High levels of acute respiratory illnesses, a sustained high volume of admissions to Christchurch Hospital, consistently high demand for acute care in our Emergency Department, Urgent Care facilities and general practice as well as unprecedented high levels of staff sickness due to both COVID-19 and other winter illnesses. 

COVID-19 numbers are forecast to continue to rise over the coming weeks. Today we have 111 inpatients with COVID-19. This is the highest number seen throughout the pandemic. We are experiencing higher COVID-19 rates in our 65+ population than at any other time this year, which is impacting disproportionately on hospitalisations.

“To free up staff to work in acute care areas we will be postponing most non-urgent outpatients activity, including all non-urgent outpatient procedures, until 31 August 2022. Note, this will exclude all gastroscopy and colonoscopy procedures.

“We apologise for the impact this will have on our community. This is not a decision we have made lightly but we need to redeploy staff to support acute and emergency care across the health system. Acute outpatient assessments will still continue, and we will make use of telehealth consultations wherever we can.”

“We are continuing to undertake emergency and non-deferable surgery and we are reviewing and reprioritising patients who have been waiting longer that we would like due to having their surgery deferred.”

“If your planned care (outpatient appointment or surgery) has been deferred you will be contacted. If you haven’t heard from us, please assume that it is going ahead. If you’re not sure, please phone the number on your appointment letter.”

The IMT continues to monitor the rise in numbers of COVID-19 cases, and staffing pressures throughout the Waitaha health system and will continue to work collaboratively to keep patients flowing through our system.

Updated visitor restrictions

Due to the rising number of inpatients who have COVID-19, stricter visitor restrictions have been put in place. 

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • Visitors to COVID-19 positive patients will not be allowed except in extenuating


  • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, facetime, zoom etc

You must NOT visit our facilities 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 (and are testing negative for COVID-19

“This is a good time to remind our community that surgical masks must be worn at all times in our facilities,” says Dr Peter Bramley.

“To limit the spread of COVID-19, in some wards we have heightened infection and prevention controls in place.  Even if you have a mask exemption, in some areas you cannot enter without a mask on because patients are very sick or very vulnerable such as in NICU. On some wards, you are required to wear an N95 mask to enter. We cannot compromise on patient health and safety.”

“There is only one visitor allowed at a time and under 12s are not allowed. Please talk to the ward’s Charge Nurse to discuss any exceptions to this on compassionate grounds before you come to hospital to visit.”

“I would like to emphasise that the most important thing that Cantabrians can do is get vaccinated, including boosters if eligible, and wear their masks to protect themselves against the viruses circulating this winter. Please keep sharing this message with your friends and whanau.”

“We’ve all learnt some great healthy habits over the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as vaccination, wearing masks, physical distancing, and increasing ventilation when indoors. These measures will help protect us as we face influenza and other viral diseases,” says Dr Peter Bramley.



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Page last updated: 5 October 2022

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