ORANGE

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 www.vaccinatecanterburywestcoast.nz 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

UPDATE: Christchurch Hospital staff caring for 28 people injured in mosque attacks

Thursday 21 March 2019Media release4 minutes to read

Chief Executive David Meates looks on at the tributes to the victims of the mosque attacks

Chief Executive David Meates looks on at the tributes to the victims of the mosque attacks

Please attribute comment to David Meates, Chief Executive, Canterbury District Health Board

28 people who were injured in Friday’s shootings are still in Christchurch Hospital, with six remaining in critical condition in intensive care.   One more person was well enough to be discharged from hospital with appropriate community supports, and two others have improved enough to be moved from ICU to other wards.

One four year old girl is still in a critical condition in Starship Hospital in Auckland and her father is in a stable condition in nearby Auckland City Hospital.

The people injured in the mosque attacks are still our priority for specialist care, which for some includes follow-up surgery and although we are closer to being able to resume our planned surgery schedule we will still need to postpone some surgeries for the remainder of this week to free up theatre space and surgical teams. Anyone affected by rescheduling will be contacted individually, and we will be apologising for the delay and thanking them for their understanding.

Christchurch Hospital is still exceptionally busy and we appreciate your support in reducing the demand for acute services such as the Emergency Department at this time. Although general practice has had a significant addition to their workload because of the ongoing measles outbreak in Canterbury, they should always be your first point of call for non-urgent care – call your normal GP team’s number 24/7 and after hours a nurse will advise you what to do and where to go.

As yesterday, most appointments at Christchurch Outpatients are going ahead as planned. If your appointment has to be postponed, we will contact you directly – any changes to our scheduling is purely to free-up key staff to support.

Please, continue to support one another and be patient with yourself and others – we’ve been through a lot and the process of physical, mental and spiritual healing will take time. As a nation and as a community we are still in shock and many of us will be finding it hard to return to normal – this in itself is normal. We all cope to different degrees and in different ways, and bear in mind the way someone feels doesn’t always show. Just being there for one another and being prepared to listen and offer a perfectly-timed hug can sometimes be enough.  

Specialist Mental Health Services are part of our whole system health response to the mental trauma caused by events that affect our whole community. We are anticipating that those directly affected will require significant support for some time to come. We in Canterbury know from experience that traumatic events have long-term consequences, particularly for those who experienced the horror first hand – and for our children – which is why we are working closely with local communities to identify and respond to immediate support needs and to plan for future needs.

Additional Information:

Anyone who needs wellbeing support can call or text 1737 to speak with a trained counsellor. This service is free of charge and is available day and night. People can also connect with the AllRight? Team who specialise in wellbeing advice.

There are also resources available online:

If you want to talk to a trained counsellor, you can phone or text 1737 to be put through to a counsellor any time of the day or night. This is a free service for everyone.

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Page last updated: 21 March 2019

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