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Coming to a hospital or health facility

You may be visiting one of our hospitals or other health facilities for an outpatient appointment, an inpatient admission, as a visitor, or in an emergency.

  • There are hospital maps online, in main reception areas, and service directories beside lifts
  • Receptionists can also give directions and help you locate patients
  • Some hospitals have volunteer wayfinders who wear blue tunics with “Can I help you?” on the front
  • If you don’t know where you are and you see a staff member wearing an identification badge, please ask them for directions

When you arrive for an appointment:

  • Check in at reception and find the correct waiting area
  • Please stay in the waiting area until your appointment

You can send us appointment enquiries using the email address on your appointment letter or via the online contact form.

If you need to cancel your surgery or appointment, please call the phone number on your appointment letter as soon as possible and let the department know.

Postponed surgeries

Emergencies sometimes require us to postpone your booking at short notice. We may have to postpone your surgery even after you have been admitted. Our staff will do everything possible to avoid postponing any treatment. However if this occurs and if surgery is absolutely essential, you will be re-booked into the next available time.

The Emergency Department is for serious emergencies only, not for long-standing or minor injuries or illnesses which can be treated by your family general practice team or an after hours clinic.

You can phone your general practice team at any time and talk to a registered nurse for advice.

Emergency dental work is available at certain dentist practices.

If you arrive at hospital in an ambulance or have an emergency, you will enter through the Emergency Department (ED).

The following Canterbury DHB facilities have EDs:

The triage nurse (a senior registered nurse) will check you to see how urgently you need a doctor.

You may have to wait to be seen if there are other people with more urgent needs.  

You may see patients who arrive after you being seen before you; this would be due to the nature of their illness or injury or because they are expected by an inpatient specialist team. 

The Christchurch Hospital ED waiting room has an electronic screen showing the latest updates on what is happening in the department.

Nurses will observe you while you wait to make sure you are safe and will answer any questions until you can be seen.

Depending on your needs, staff may transfer you to a bed in the Emergency Observations Area or to a ward.

You may need a follow-up appointment in an outpatient clinic, at the Physiotherapy Department or other specialist clinics.

The clinic or department will send you an appointment letter with your appointment date and time. We may also send you a text message reminding you of the appointment.

Page last updated: 21 February 2019

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