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

Preparing for your visit

Find out how to prepare for your visit to Christchurch Hospital or another hospital in Canterbury, including a printable list of what to bring to hospital, advice on the kind of support you may need while in hospital and questions that you may want to ask staff while in hospital. You can find more specific advice and information on our Child Health, Maternity, Mental Health, and Older Persons’ Health pages.

  • Bring remote contact details (eg: phone number, Facebook messenger, Zoom/Skype, WhatsApp) to be able to connect with family/whanau or friends for support, which can include during consultation with staff
  • Staff will introduce themselves, explain their role and work with you and your family to understand what matters to you with your health care
  • You make decisions about your own treatment
  • Learn about hand hygiene and other tips to keep healthy and well

P.L.A.N. for your visit. P.L.A.N. stands for:

Prepare for your visit

  • Did you know you can have a support person and ask for a translator available to you via telephone (during this time while no visitors are allowed).
  • Make a list of your medicines and supplements

Listen and share

  • Say if you don’t understand and if a drawing could help
  • Say if you’re having problems with your medicines or treatment, or can’t afford them
  • Is there anything else you can tell your doctor or nurse about your health?

Ask questions

  • What is my health problem?
  • What happens next?
  • Why is that important?
  • Are there any other options?
  • What can I do to help with my health?

Note down what you need to do next

  • Interpreters are available if English is not your first language or you have hearing loss
  • If you have to travel to get to hospital, accommodation may be available for you and whānau members who travel with you

If you already have an appointment confirmed with a Te Whatu Ora health service you can contact us about your appointment using the email address or telephone number on your appointment letter. If you do not have the letter available you can also contact our appointments team by selecting "Enquiry" and "Appointment Enquiries" on our contact form.

Please remember that unless stated on your appointment letter, your regular doctor is your central point of contact for all your health needs, and your GP team can contact hospital departments and specialists if something happens that affects your hospital appointment or treatment.

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.

If you do not have the letter available you can also contact our appointments team by selecting “Enquiry” and “Appointment Enquiries” on our contact form.

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.

Please do not bring any valuables into the hospital unless absolutely necessary (including valuable items of clothing). If necessary, we may be able to store valuables and money in a locked cupboard or deposit them in the hospital safe. Any personal belongings you bring into the hospital are at your own risk. Te Whatu Ora does not accept any responsibility for any personal items that you bring into hospital.

Everybody coming to hospital, bring:

  • Comfortable day clothes
  • Supportive well-fitting footwear with closed back, low heel and non-slip sole
  • Glasses, hearing aids and dentures. Bring the cases for your glasses and hearing aid so you can put them away safely
  • If you have equipment to support your mobility such as a walking aid, please name this and bring it with you
  • Book/eBook reader/tablet/mobile phone, headphones, charger and you can use our free patient wi-fi service.

Please note: When using electronic devices in hospitals:

  • Be respectful of others and turn the volume down or use headphones
  • Mobile devices interfere with medical equipment at close range - all mobile phones must be turned off when within 1 metre of medical equipment


  • Bring your medicines (including medicines bought at the supermarket and pharmacy, and complementary, alternative or natural therapies), especially if you have to come to hospital unexpectedly
  • Bring your medication list (yellow card) if you have one
  • The medications will not be used while you stay in hospital, except as a temporary measure until we can obtain a supply. We will then store your own medications in a dedicated area on the ward
  • If you have any questions, please talk to your nurse, doctor, or the ward pharmacist

Patients staying overnight (inpatients), bring:

  • We recommend you name any personal items you need to bring into hospital for your stay
  • Night-dress or pyjamas for sleeping. You can also bring your own pillow and pillowcase (we provide blue pillowcases for your head)
  • Toiletry items, such as toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.
  • Spare clothes
  • Please bring enough changes of clothing for the length of your stay, we also suggest you bring an extra bag for your laundry
  • If you wear dentures, please bring your cleaning container
  • If you live alone, cancel services such as Meals on Wheels, home help and newspaper delivery for the time you are in hospital
  • Ask a trusted neighbour or friend to collect your mail

Please don’t bring:

  • Valuable items such as jewellery or large sums of money
  • Smoking and vaping equipment as it is not allowed. We can help you be smoke free while in hospital.

Print or download a checklist: What to bring to hospital (PDF, 150KB)

Please bring any documents with you that explain how you want us to care for you, including:

  • Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA). If you have an EPA it is important you let us know in case the need arises
  • Advance Care Plan (ACP) or Advanced Directives
  • Any Acute Plans or Personalised Care Plans you may have with your health care team
  • Health Passport


You can help your own recovery by learning about your condition on our HealthInfo Canterbury website.

Referrals are often a part of a treatment process, specifically a referral is when your family doctor (General Practice team) or another health professional such as a physiotherapist will refer you to a specialist. This is usually because your doctor wants a specialist’s help in deciding on the best way to treat your condition. This might involve referring you for tests or investigations that cannot be carried out by your general practice team.

Referrals are also possible if patients or their family/whānau ask for a second opinion, or treatment to be provided by another health professional.

Self-referrals: A few specialist health services such as the Sexual Health Clinic accept "self-referrals". A self-referral is when you either "walk-in" or book an appointment directly with the health service provider, rather than your family doctor or a health professional doing this on your behalf.

In an emergency call 111 or go to your nearest emergency department.

Your general practice team (GP) are the best people to talk to about your health.

Your regular doctor or health clinic is your central point of contact for all your health needs, including:

  • Before you come to hospital
  • While you are having treatment involving regular hospital visits
  • After you leave hospital

Your GP team can contact hospital departments and specialists if something happens that affects your hospital appointment or treatment.

Hospital staff only prescribe medication related to the condition you are in hospital for. For any other medications and regular prescriptions, talk to your GP team.

Watch our two-minute hospital patient safety video

If you are using an older browser and cannot see the video above, it can be viewed on instead.


[Video length: 2:33 minutes]

[Music plays.]

[Title: Hospital patient safety video]

Welcome to our Hospital while you’re here your safety is our priority and if you follow these eight simple steps, you can help keep yourself safe during your stay.

To help prevent falls, please wear non-slip socks if provided laced up or snug fitting shoes or slippers with rubber soles. Use your usual walking aids and if you need any assistance tell us.

To help prevent blood clots wear your hospital stockings if you’ve been advised to and move as often as you can.

Try to do simple leg and ankle exercises drink fluids as recommended and take blood thinning tablets or injections as advised.

To prevent infection, wash your hands before and after visiting the toilet and before all meals.

Don’t hesitate to ask our staff if they’ve washed their hands before any contact with you.

Tell us if you have diarrhoea or vomiting. If you have tubes or needles attached to you ask our staff why they are there and if you still need them.

There’s no need to be confused about your medicines.

Tell us if you don’t understand what your medicines are for, or if you have an allergy talk to your doctor nurse or pharmacist about any concerns you may have and ask about possible side effects.

Pressure injuries are not very nice.

So if you can try to keep mobile in bed and call us if you are uncomfortable, we’re very happy to help you change position.

And if necessary, we can work with you on ways to relieve pressure. Let us know if any of your personal information is wrong like the name on your ID band your address your GP or your next of kin.

Also, tell us if you have any allergies, if you do some hospitals may give you a coloured wristband.

Your ID band will be checked before any medicines are given if you have any concerns, don’t forget we are here to help you.

Talk to us if you have any worries or questions about your treatment, or about what will happen when you leave Hospital.

You’re leaving the hospital, but before you leave make sure you’ve got the information you need to be safe at home. Your medicines have been explained to you, particularly if they’ve changed.

You know who to contact if you have any questions or concerns. And, you know when your next appointment is.

If you need any more information on how to make your stay with us safe, read the booklet provided, or ask a member of staff.

[Credits: Based on the Patient Safety Card developed by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, with creative design by MultiAdaptor. Produced in collaboration with haelo and Harmfreecare]

Page last updated: 8 June 2023

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