Hospital visiting guidelines updated 16 September 2022: Hospital visitors must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are not acceptable.  See our COVID-19 page for general COVID-19 advice, detailed hospital visiting guidelines and COVID-19 tests.

See for info on vaccinations.

Last updated:
16 September 2022

Fewer visitor restrictions now apply

For visitors to all facilities effective from 16 September 2022

Some visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Te Tai o Poutini West Coast health facilities remain in place, but we have relaxed others.

There is still a heightened risk to vulnerable people in hospital and so people must continue to wear a mask when visiting any of our facilities and follow other advice designed to keep patients, staff and other visitors safe.

Kia whakahaumaru te whānau, me ngā iwi katoa – this is 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 in single rooms may have more than one visitor while patients in multi-bed rooms can have one visitor only per patient to ensure there is no overcrowding.
  • People can have one or two support people to accompany them to outpatients appointments.
  • Women in labour in a birthing suite, in Te Nīkau Hospital’s Maternity Ward and in Buller’s Kawatiri Maternity Unit can have the usual support people, subject to space, for the duration of their stay in our facilities.
  • Eating or drinking at the bedside is at the discretion of the Clinical Nurse Manager. Visitors must not eat or drink in multibed rooms because of the increased risk when multiple people remove their 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.

Mask wearing

  • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all sites, except in counselling, mental health and addiction services where it’s on a case-by-case agreement with patients. Masks will be provided if you don’t have one. In higher-risk environments, people, including young children, may not be able to visit if they cannot wear a mask.
  • 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.

Visiting patients with COVID-19

  • People are able to 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.

You must NOT visit our facilities if you

  • are COVID-19 positive
  • are unwell. Please stay home if you have a tummy bug or cold or flu/COVID-19-like symptoms (even if you’ve tested negative for COVID-19).

Te Whatu Ora West Coast Aged Residential Care facilities

Visitors are welcome at our Aged Care Residential facilities, subject to the space available. All visitors must wear a surgical mask.

More COVID-19 information

Current waiting time for: Referral from a GP for a prostate cancer initial consultation; for a follow up appointment for a prostate biopsy; for a post biopsy appointment to discuss results and treatment options and for a radical prostatectomy following the post biopsy appointment for persons with a confirmed prostate cancer diagnosis?

RE Official Information Act request WCDHB 9357

I refer to your email dated 10 October 2019 requesting the following information under the Official Information Act from West Coast DHB, in relation to Prostate Cancer Treatment; specifically:

1. The current waiting time for an appointment following a referral from a GP for a prostate cancer initial consultation

Men are referred from the GP with an elevated PSA1 level or an abnormal DRE2 for investigation of prostate cancer. The current waiting time for a First Specialist Appointment in this setting depends on the degree of PSA elevation and/or abnormality on DRE and is on average between 4 and 8 weeks.

1 – Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by prostate cells. The PSA blood test is not a prostate cancer specific test but gives an indication of the risk of prostate cancer.

2 – Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) allows the examiner to feel the prostate to assess size and consistency.

2. The current waiting time for a follow-up appointment for a prostate biopsy

The majority of prostate biopsies are undertaken at the first specialist appointment after discussion with the urologist. In this situation the wait time would be 0 days. Occasionally, further investigation is needed prior to biopsy – this is usually via an MRI of the prostate, which is done in Christchurch. In this situation, the wait time for biopsy would be 4 weeks when visiting urologist is back on the West Coast on scheduled monthly roster.

Patients with confirmed prostate cancer are followed up locally by the resident Urology Nurse Specialists on the West Coast, so that there is active ongoing contact with patients undertaken between them being reviewed by a Consultant Urologist.

3. The current waiting time for a post-biopsy appointment to discuss results and treatment options

A Urologist visits the West Coast once a month. Following a prostate biopsy, results generally take 10- 14 working days to be finalised and reported. Men are notified of results by a Clinical Nurse Specialist.

They are then followed up in the next specialist clinic to discuss treatment/management options. This equates on average to a 2 week wait between notification of results and seeing the urologist.

4. The current waiting time for a radical prostatectomy following the post-biopsy appointment for persons with a confirmed prostate cancer diagnosis. (Please only include those patients who undergo prostatectomy surgery who have a confirmed prostate cancer diagnosis, not those who require the surgery for other conditions.)

Once radical prostatectomy has been chosen as the treatment of choice, the current average wait time for surgery is 4 to 8 weeks.

The decision to treat is made at the first follow up appointment, but not the mode of treatment. There is generally a further appointment made with a radiation oncologist to discuss radiation therapy. Once the man has all of the information on each treatment option, they then choose the mode that suits their individual needs.


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Page last updated: 15 November 2019

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