All hospital visitors are recommended to wear a medical face mask. Expand this message for information about visiting hospital.

Last updated:
13 March 2023

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.

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 to 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

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 facilities have Emergency Department's:

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: 8 March 2024

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