Hospital visitors don’t need a Vaccine Pass, but must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for visiting guidelines, COVID-19 tests current case numbers in regions of Canterbury and care in the community advice. See for info about vaccinations.

We are at ORANGE according to the NZ COVID-19 Protection Framework

Last updated:
19 April 2022

For visitors to all facilities effective from Tuesday 19 April 2022

With the change to the ORANGE Traffic Light setting, Canterbury DHB is easing its visitor policy in recognition of the fact we have passed the peak of the current Omicron outbreak and case numbers are slowly reducing.

The following visitor restrictions are now in place for all Canterbury DHB hospitals and health facilities:

  • One adult visitor may be accompanied by no more than one child over the age of 12 per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.  No children under 12 and those 12 and over must be accompanied by an adult and wear a medical mask.
  • Visitors or support people should not visit our facilities if they are unwell.
  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all Canterbury DHB sites and will be provided if people don’t have them.
  • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

By adhering to these conditions, 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 (ie more than one visitor) where a trusted whānau member provides 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 – 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 support people, and women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Womens 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 children are allowed to visit.
  • 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, following a supervised negative RAT result)
  • Children who are inpatients, one other visitor (other than a parent or caregiver) is able to visit in consultation with the nurse in charge.
  • 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.

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.

Face covering exemption cards

The Exemptions Team at the Ministry of Health is now responsible for processing requests for Face Covering Communication Cards.

Updated information about mask wearing, and how to request an exemption card can now be found here. People unable to request an exemption card online can call 0800 28 29 26 and select option 2, or text 8988

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

More COVID-19 information

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.

COVID-19 visitor restrictions

Most hospitals now have restrictions on the number of visitors and support people allowed. Patients and visitors should view the COVID-19 visiting restrictions for more details about the visiting restrictions at the specific hospital they are visiting.

  • 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: 1 March 2022

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