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

Health Emergency Plan 2018


This West Coast District Health Board (WCDHB) Health Emergency Plan (HEP) has been reviewed and updated to reflect current thinking on emergency management and incorporating lessons learnt from major incidents in the WCDHB region of responsibility.
This plan has been developed in consultation with key local planners and emergency managers within the health sector as well as in consultation with civil defence emergency managers.
To maintain its alignment with the National Health Emergency Plan (NHEP) this plan will be reviewed by WCDHB within three years of its adoption. The plan will also be reviewed and updated as required following:
• any new developments or substantive changes to the operations or organisation of New Zealand health and disability services
• and/or as a result of lessons from a significant emergency affecting the provision of health services within the region
• or by direction of the Ministry of Health, or the WCDHB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Canterbury/West Coast Health Emergency Governance Group (HEGG).

Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of this document is to:
• Provide a common framework for planning, prioritising, structuring and delivering health services during, and recovering from, any emergency affecting the health of the people of the West Coast.
• Define and allocate roles and responsibilities as well as the relationships necessary to implement this plan.
• Incorporate, by reference, supporting WCDHB plans/documents and those of health providers that form part of this plan.
• Meet contractual or legal obligations and be consistent with the requirements of:

  • Ministry of Health
    • National Health Emergency Plan (NHEP) 2015
    • Operational Policy Framework 2017-18
  • Civil Defence
    • National Civil Defence Emergency Management Plan 2015, MCDEM Director’s Guidelines on Welfare Services in an Emergency (DGL 11/15) and Order in Council
    • National and group level CDEM plans



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Page last updated: 28 October 2022

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