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During your visit to hospital

Information for patients about what can happen during a visit to a hospital in Canterbury.

Every person who uses health and disability services has rights. Canterbury DHB and our people who provide health and disability services have duties. These rights and duties are clearly set out in the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights (1996).

In summary, your rights under this code are:

  • Respect: The right to be treated with respect
  • Fair treatment: The right to freedom from discrimination, coercion, harassment, and exploitation
  • Dignity and independence: The right to dignity and independence
  • Proper standards: The right to services of an appropriate standard
  • Communication: The right to effective communication
  • Information: The right to be fully informed
  • It’s your decision: The right to make an informed choice and give informed consent
  • Support: The right to support
  • Teaching and research: Rights in respect of teaching or research
  • Complaints: The right to complain


  • You should know what to expect. Your health care team will discuss with you your diagnosis, options available, the pros and cons of those options and what matters to you
  • With our assistance and support you can make decisions about your health and plan of care
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for more information or to question anything you don’t understand
  • We encourage you to bring a family member or friend you want to be involved in your care

Pamphlets explaining your rights when using our services are available in all wards and departments.

For more information please refer to the Health and Disability Commission (HDC). HDC can be contacted on:

The Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service is a free service that operates independently from Canterbury DHB. It can help you know more about your rights when using health or disability services, get questions answered or make a complaint. It can be contacted on:

Canterbury DHB encompasses the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and treats Māori people and people of all cultures with respect.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles:

  • Partnership – We work together with you and your whānau to support you on your health journey
  • Protection – We respect and observe tikanga practices, values, beliefs and taonga (Te Reo Māori) while caring for you in a culturally appropriate way
  • Participation – We create opportunities for you and your whānau to actively participate in managing your own health and ensure you can access services that meet your needs

Your health information

To provide you with appropriate care and treatment, we may need to share information with or collect information from people such as your family, caregivers, or general practitioner (GP).
The Health Information Privacy Code 1994 sets out what our obligations are with respect to your health information and also what your rights are.

More information about this can be found in our Privacy Statement and at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner website

Asking for your information / patient health records

You have the right to see your health record and other information Canterbury DHB holds about you.

There are three ways to request a copy of your medical record and patient info from the Patient Information Office:

If you have any questions about your care, what is happening and when, you can ask a staff member at any time for information.

Collecting your information

Health information is collected for your care and treatment. Usually, we collect information directly from you, but if this is not possible/practical we may collect it from another person and then check with you as soon as possible.

If your personal information has changed

It is important the information we hold about you is accurate and up-to-date to provide a safe standard of care during your stay in hospital.

Please let us know if any of your personal details change or are incorrect (e.g. address, mobile phone, next of kin), or if there is any additional information that may help us understand your situation.

Managing your information

It is normal for us to give necessary and relevant information about you to your GP, the health care professional who referred you, your community nurse, or other healthcare professionals involved in your ongoing care.

In most cases we require your consent before we share information about you with somebody else. However, in certain circumstances we may, in accordance with the law, provide information about you to others, such as government agencies (e.g. ACC, the Police, and Oranga Tamariki) or your family/caregivers/whānau that you live with if we think it is necessary for your care and treatment, for your safety or the safety of others.

We may also provide your information to the Ministry of Health and other government agencies that require us to provide information or administrative, legal, contractual, statistical, research or public health purposes. Your information is kept confidential and you will not be identified in any way. Canterbury DHB’s Your Rights pamphlet provides more information.

Please tell the staff caring for you if you:               

  • Do not want even general information about your condition shared with your family or friends (Note: We cannot always follow your wishes, but we will take your views into account when a decision is made)
  • Want to know why certain information is needed
  • Are uneasy about providing certain information

Security of your information

Your information will be stored securely, and only authorised staff can access your information.

Staff asking for your details

Staff will ask your name, date of birth and your address many times during your visit. This makes sure we give the right medication, treatment or procedure to the right person. If we give you an identification bracelet please keep it on at all times. If your bracelet is removed for any reason, please tell your nurse immediately.

Displaying your name

If you are admitted we usually display your name above your bed and outside your room. Staff will ask you about this when you arrive in the ward. Please tell us if this may cause problems and we will make other arrangements.

Private conversations

You may be in a room with other people. Please tell us if you would like us to take you to another room to discuss your health in private.

No recording and videoing of staff

Please do not record or video any conversations or procedures with staff, unless staff give you their consent to do so.

Please be mindful in making any recording that you may be capturing the personal information of other people who have not consented to the recording and therefore you may be breaching their privacy in making and keeping any recording.

Your choice about being involved in teaching and research

There are health professionals training in our hospitals. You have the right to refuse permission for these students to be involved in your care or see your medical records. If you refuse, this does not affect the care you receive in any way.

CCTV in some areas

CCTV cameras are operating in some areas of Canterbury DHB, such as the entrance and reception areas of our facilities, the Emergency Department and public areas. This is to keep patients, visitors and staff safe. We may provide video footage to the Police to support crime prevention and investigate incidents.

When you arrive at the ward:

  • The ward clerk or nurse will meet you
  • While staying in hospital, you will always have a nurse assigned to your care
  • The nurses assigned to you on each shift will introduce themselves to you when they come on duty
  • You will generally remain on this ward for the time of your hospital stay but may be transferred to a different room
  • If you need help, ring your nurse using the call button provided
  • Please do not leave the ward without letting your nurse know. To ensure you get proper care, we need to know where you are at all times

See our two-minute patient safety video for tips on how to stay healthy in the ward.

Doctors/Tākuta give medical or surgical advice and treatment

House Surgeon/House Officer/Intern

Qualified doctor who has not begun specialist training


Experienced doctor training in a specialty

RMO (Resident Medical Officer)

House Surgeon or Registrar

Specialist Specialist Medical Officer (SMO)

Senior doctor or surgeon who has specialised in a certain field. Also known as an SMO (Specialist Medical Officer)


Senior hospital doctor or surgeon who is a specialist in their field


Nurses assess, treat, and care for patients in hospitals

Nurse Practitioners (NPs)/Mahi Nēhi

Nurse Practitioners are highly-trained and experienced nurses who assess, diagnose, treat, prescribe and manage care across different healthcare services.

Registered Nurses/Tapuhi Whai Rēhitatanga (RNs)

Registered Nurses assess, treat, care for and support patients in hospitals, clinics, residential care facilities and their homes.

Health Care Assistants/Tiaki hauora kaiāwhina

Health Care Assistant provide basic care, observe patients under the direction of a RN and ensure patients have the best experience possible.


Administrators/Kaiwhakahaere provide administrative support

Ward Clerks

Ward Clerks welcome patients and their visitors to the ward, ensure patient records are updated and liaise with other departments e.g. to make follow-up appointments

Outpatient Administrators

Outpatient Administrators arrive and depart patients attending appointments and manage bookings to ensure patients receive treatment within the required guidelines.


Other staff who support patients while in hospital

Pharmacy staff/kaimahi rongoā

Pharmacy staff work with the medical teams to ensure we have an up-to-date list of your medicines, record any allergies you have and provide information on new medicines started.

Kaimahi Hauora Māori

A Māori Health worker provides tautoko (cultural support and advice) to tūroro (patients) and their whānau (family members) while they are in the hospital. They may also advocate for patients and provide them with information and resources to help your recovery if needed.

Dietitians/Pūkenga Whakaita Kai

Dietitians give advice and counselling about diet, food and nutrition to individuals and communities. They also design nutrition programmes to support health and wellbeing.

Physiotherapists/Kairomiromi (Physios)

Physios help patients recover from disability or problems caused by physical, brain, and nervous system disorders to restore function and independence.

Occupational Therapists/Kaiwhakaora Ngangahau (OTs)

OTs assess and treat people who have trouble with everyday activities because of illness, injury or circumstance.

Speech Language Therapists/Kaihaumanu Reo ā-Waha (SLTs)

SLTs assess and treat people who have problems with communication or swallowing. This may include difficulties with speech, language, thought processes or moving their bodies.

Social Workers/Kaimahi Toko i te Ora

Social Workers provide care, advice and support to people with personal or social problems, and help with community and social issues.

Midwives/Tapuhi ā-Whare

Midwives provide care and support to women, their partners and family/whānau during pregnancy, labour and birth, and for six weeks following the birth. They also provide wellness and parenting advice to mothers and families.

Catering Assistants/Kaiāwhina Whakatutuki

Catering Assistants provide a personal meal service with food and drinks according to your dietary needs.


Orderlies help clinical staff take care of patients’ needs by transporting patients; delivering samples, oxygen, and clinical documents; maintaining and cleaning equipment; and other tasks.

Your health care team uses electronic devices (smartphones and tablets) to:

  • Enter information in your health record
  • Record your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and other observations
  • Give you medication
  • Send and receive messages about your care

This information all forms part of your health record.

Our approach is “team-based care”. Your health care team will discuss with you your rights, your diagnosis, options available, plan of care and if possible the date we hope to get you home.

You may experience the following during your stay:

Bedside boards

A board near your bed is regularly updated to show your needs (e.g. any assistance needed with moving, hearing or sight aids, or special diet). There is space on the board for you or your family to list any questions you want answered.

Bedside handover

At the end of the morning shift, nurses will discuss important updates with you and hand over ongoing tasks to the afternoon shift.


Nurses check in on you regularly to make sure you have everything you need (e.g. call bell and drink within reach, help to the toilet).

Ward rounds

Members of your health care team visit each bed and give you an opportunity to ask questions.

We want you involved in discussions and decisions about your care. It is important to ask any questions and if there is anything you don’t understand or are not happy with, please ask for more information until things are clear.

Relatives and friends can telephone the patient enquiries desk at the hospital.

Visiting hours are listed on each hospital page.

Ashburton Hospital

Burwood Hospital

Christchurch Hospital

Christchurch Women's Hospital

Hillmorton Hospital

Kaikōura Health

The Princess Margaret Hospital

ALL hospitals and health facilities

Our own Wellfood team locally sources our food and prepares it at the hospital sites. All our meals are nutritionally approved.

We will assess your dietary needs and bring you suitable meals.

Meal service

Meal times vary at each of our hospitals:





Drink trolley service?


Christchurch Hospital






Burwood Hospital






The Princess Margaret Hospital






Hillmorton Hospital






Ashburton Hospital







Hospital Cafes


Hours weekdays

hours weekend

Food Type

Great Escape (Christchurch Hospital)

7am - 7:30pm

9am - 7:30pm

Hot meals, savoury items, Sushi, sandwiches, scones, muffins, cakes, fruit, salads, slices, barista coffee, non-alcoholic drinks.

Parkside (Christchurch Hospital)


8am - 3pm

Savoury items, Sushi, sandwiches, scones, cakes, muffins, fruit salad slices, barista coffee, selection of non-alcoholic drinks.

Kānuka Cafe
Christchurch Outpatients Building

7am - 4pm


Gourmet sandwiches, fresh salads, Allpress Espresso coffee. Also a range of gluten free, dairy free and vegan options available.

Christchurch Women’s Hospital



Sandwiches, scones, muffins, fruit salad, slices, barista coffee, selection of non-alcoholic drinks.

Burwood Hospital

7am - 6.30pm


Hot meals, savoury items, Sushi, sandwiches, scones, muffins, cakes, fruit, salads, slices, non-alcoholic drinks, barista coffee.

Avon Cafe (Hillmorton Hospital)

7am - 3.30pm


Hot meals, savoury items, sandwiches, scones, muffins, cakes, slices, selection of non-alcoholic drinks, barista coffee.


8am - 4pm

Sat: Closed

Sunday: 11:30am - 1pm

Hot meals, savoury items, sandwiches, scones, muffins, cakes, slices, selection of non-alcoholic drinks, barista coffee.


Page last updated: 26 August 2020

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