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

Unless it’s an emergency, expect delays at Christchurch Hospital’s Emergency Department this weekend

Friday 18 November 2022Media release3 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.

Unless it’s an emergency, expect delays at Christchurch Hospital’s Emergency Department this weekend.

Due to medical staff shortages, there may be longer wait times than usual for people seeking less urgent care at Christchurch Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) this weekend.

Everyone who comes to the ED will be seen by a nurse when they first arrive and their condition will be triaged (assessed for urgency). People who come in with non-urgent conditions that could be treated by a General Practice or Urgent Care clinic can expect a prolonged wait while our clinical staff focus on treating people who arrive with life or limb-threatening injuries.

“I need to emphasise that if you are very unwell, please head to the ED straight away and do not delay. However, we ask you to be patient if you do need to wait,” says Becky Hickmott, Senior Responsible Officer for Seasonal Pressures.

“At peak times we will have kaiāwhina (health support workers) supporting the waiting room which is a new intiative. If you think your condition is getting worse, please speak up to our staff who can let the triage nurse know.

“Acute and emergency care will always be available. We do apologise to those who have to wait and understand that this can be particularly distressing when unwell.”

The ED is short of five junior doctors (Resident Medical Officers) this weekend which is 30% of the department’s usual number per day due to a mix of sick leave, annual leave and vacancy. Some senior doctors will be providing extra cover, but the department is experiencing unprecedented medical shortages.

Anyone who doesn’t want to wait to be seen at an Urgent Care clinic, might like to try a virtual consultation with a clinician. There are apps enabling you to have an appointment with a New Zealand registered health practitioner without seeing them in person. This is also called a virtual consult or telehealth. You can find a list of some of these providers here, several of whom have evening and weekend availability, and one offers free consultations for children aged under 14 years

Christchurch has three urgent care clinics where you can seek care in person, the 24 Hour Surgery, Riccarton Clinic (8am-8pm) and Moorhouse Medical Centre (8am-4pm). You can also see your local pharmacist for advice on medication and minor health concerns.

For free health advice over the weekend, please phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night and they can advise you on what to do and where to go if you do need to be seen urgently. Parents and caregivers can call PlunketLine on 0800 933 922 at any time to talk with a Plunket nurse if they have unwell infants or children.


Back to Health News

Page last updated: 14 February 2023

Is this page useful?