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

WellNow, Canterbury’s health magazine arrives in mailboxes this week

Wednesday 18 November 2020Media release3 minutes to read

The latest edition of our WellNow magazine is out now

Look out for the latest edition of Canterbury DHB’s WellNow magazine that is being delivered to mailboxes across the region this week.

Canterbury DHB Acting Chief Executive, Andrew Brant, says the magazine informs those who want to keep up with our fast-moving health system and is well worth a read.

“It is still one of our most effective and direct channels for letting Canterbury people know what’s going on in their health system.

“As well as stories about the health journeys of Canterbury people, it holds valuable information on the services that are available and how to access them. Most importantly for this edition though, it includes an introduction, mostly in pictures, to Waipapa – our newest, state-of-the art health facility which is opening to the public this month,” says Dr Brant.

The name “Waipapa” was gifted to the people of Canterbury by Te Maire Tau, Ūpoko (head) of the Ngāi Tuahuriri hapu, a gift strongly endorsed by Manawhenua Ki Waitaha, Canterbury DHB’s health partners. It builds on the DHB’s partnership with Manawhenua Ki Waitaha and acknowledges the mana of Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga who are papatipu rūnanga for the land on which the new building sits.

“The new Emergency Department (ED) opens to the public today, 18 November – but to help our teams move and acclimatise, we ask that people save ED for emergencies and if they don’t need emergency care, they instead take advantage of their own GP team or one of our three Urgent Care facilities – 24hrs Surgery in Bealey Ave, Moorhouse Medical or Riccarton Clinic.”

From today the new ED can be accessed off Riccarton Avenue, with the entrance to the left as you face Christchurch Women’s Hospital.

Other highlights include stories that go behind the scenes of our COVID-19 response – celebrating just some of those teams that worked away unseen in health’s engine room. Read about the wellbeing and mental health benefits for Māori who connect regularly with whānau and learn about their whakapapa, and hear 86-year-old Shirley’s story that shows just how important it is to get up and moving as soon as possible after surgery.

There’s also information on the National Bowel Screening Programme. It advises people aged 60-74 years to look out for their free bowel screening test kit in the mail near one of their next two birthdays, and use and return it. The test detects signs of cancer early, when it’s easier to treat, and during the first year alone could help find around 100 cancers and save as many lives.

In addition to the print edition, there is an online version of WellNow on the Canterbury DHB website. An important additional section called “How we measure up” will be added later this month. This extra section looks at our performance and is more focused on data that highlights areas where we need to improve and charts our progress.



Back to Health News

Page last updated: 18 November 2020

Is this page useful?