Hospital visiting guidelines updated 20 July 2022: Hospital visitors must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for detailed information about hospital visiting guidelines, COVID-19 tests and care in the community advice. See for information about vaccinations.

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

Last updated:
20 July 2022

Mask exemptions accepted for people seeking treatment
Any member of the public with a mask exemption is welcome in all our facilities when attending to receive health care and *treatment. Please show your mask exemption card and appointment letter to staff at the entrance.

*Treatment includes: coming into the Emergency Department, outpatient appointments,  surgery or a procedure.

For visitors to all facilities effective from Wednesday 20 July 2022

With the recent resurgence in cases in Canterbury, largely due to the Omicron BA.5 subvariant we are seeing an increase in demand right across the health system. Presentations to our Christchurch ED and Ashburton’s AAU are higher than ever and admission rates are high, which means we have a shortage of resourced beds.

Recently, we have seen too many unwell people coming to visit someone in hospital and too many that cannot or will not wear a medical mask. This increases the risk to vulnerable people in hospital. For these reasons we need to everything we can to minimise these risks.

We have therefore tightened visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury hospitals and health facilities.

Kia whakahaumaru te whānau, me ngā iwi katoa – this is to keep everybody safe:

  • One visitor per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.
  • No visitors under 16 to any part of our facilities.
  • No visitors to COVID +ve patients other than in exceptional circumstances.
  • No eating or drinking at the bedside or anywhere other than cafes or areas designated for eating/drinking, as taking your mask off puts patients at risk.
  • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms (even if they have tested negative) or have had a recent tummy bug.
  • Do not visit if you are COVID +ve or a household contact of someone who has tested positive
  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all sites and will be provided if people don’t have them. Mask exemptions do not apply in our facilities – people who cannot tolerate a mask cannot visit at this time.
  • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

By sticking to the rules above, 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 where trusted whānau members provide 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 – again, 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 named support people + their community LMC/midwife if they have one – for the duration of the birth only. All other women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Women’s 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 under 16s are allowed to visit or attend appointments.
  • 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).
  • 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.

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • To avoid them becoming infected with COVID-19 and passing it one, visitors to COVID-19 positive patients will not be allowed except in extenuating circumstances – by prior agreement with the Charge Nurse Manager only, and wearing an N95 mask.
  • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, facetime, zoom etc.

You must NOT visit the hospital if you

  • are a household contact of a COVID-19 positive case
  • are COVID-19 positive
  • Have a cold or flu/COVID-19-like symptoms (even if you are testing negative for COVID-19)

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.

Everyone visiting our facilities must wear a mask, no exceptions

While we appreciate that some people have legitimate reasons for being exempt from wearing a mask and may even have an official card to confirm this, people who cannot or will not wear a mask cannot visit someone in hospital or attend hospital, other than to access healthcare treatment*. This is another measure to minimise the risk to vulnerable patients.

*healthcare treatment includes: Emergency Department care, outpatient appointments, surgery or a procedure. 

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

More COVID-19 information

New Kaikoura health centre opens – a community effort

Friday 15 April 2016Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury News3 minutes to read

Kaikoura Health Te Hā o Te Ora was officially opened this afternoon by the Minister of Health, Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman.

The new $13.4 million, 2800m² state-of-the-art facility enjoys views over the Kaikoura ranges and out to the bay. It provides primary, aged, acute and maternity care, radiology services and trauma stabilisation and replaces a 100-year old hospital.

David Meates, Canterbury District Health Board Chief Executive, says the new health centre also features multi-purpose GP rooms, physiotherapy, community dental, optometry, and space for visiting health specialists.
“There are a number of flexible spaces to ensure the facility will meet the needs of the community today and in the future,” he says.
Mr Meates says what makes this new health centre extra special is the fact that the community played such a big role in fundraising to ensure the project went ahead.

“The Government put in $10 million and the remaining $3.4 million has come from the community.

“I would like to acknowledge the many hours of work put in by Joe van Rooyen and other members of the Fundraising Trust and the countless hours given by members of the local community.

“Without people prepared to put their hand up do the hard yards, this facility would not have happened. Fundraising included an op-shop, a polo match, applying for grants and a host of other events.”

Four local people took part in today’s opening ceremony:
The ribbon to Kaikoura Health Te Hā o Te Ora was cut by two future health professionals Hineari Kahu and Tammy Smith-Kerr. Hine is in her second year of med school in Otago and is determined to return to the health centre as a GP. Tammy is a Year 13 pupil at Kaikoura High School and plans to train as a nurse after spending time over the past two years working in Kaikoura Hospital, supporting the nurses and healthcare assistants, as part of the school’s Gateway Programme.

\A commemorative cake was cut by Kaikoura’s oldest resident, 99-year-old Margaret Edgar, who was born in the former Kaikoura hospital. She was ably assisted by ‘Aunty Phyllis Papworth’ as she is known to the locals.
The magnificent voices of the Kai-Chorus entertained hundreds of locals and officials who turned out to celebrate the opening.

“After so many years in the making, days like today – where we can celebrate a project that was delivered on time and on budget with the full backing of the local community – are one of the great highlights of my role,” Mr Meates says.


Photos from the opening are available on request.

Back to Health News

Page last updated: 12 December 2018

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