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

All services back in Buller Health Centre from 4pm today

Friday 30 July 2021Health news4 minutes to read

Please attribute comment to Phil Wheble, Incident Controller, West Coast DHB Flood event.

From 4pm this afternoon all health services usually based in the Buller Health Centre will be relocated and up and running in the facility.

This comes after an outstanding effort from our DHB staff and a number of skilled contractors who have worked tirelessly to get the building back in a safe state for reoccupation. 

When the Health Centre was evacuated due to flooding on 17 July, Club Buller in Westport became a temporary base for clinical services including an inpatient ward and acute assessment area. It also became headquarters for West Coast DHB’s Emergency Operations Centre. The Club, which enabled us to continue to provide health care will be deep cleaned, blessed and returned for its original use as a social gathering place for locals. 

Special thanks to the operators of Club Buller, and to the owners of the Masonic Lodge building who have allowed us to use it as a vaccination centre, and for the past couple of weeks it became a pop-up General Practice. Our local West Coast PHO, Te Tai o Poutini also assisted with providing rooms for some consultations – thanks to everyone for being so accommodating. 

Members of West Coast DHB’s WellFood team were the first to move back into the Buller Health Centre on Monday. The majority of other services moved back into the facility on Tuesday, with only clinical services and the DHB’s Emergency Operations Centre remaining at Club Buller. 

The full list of services available at Buller Health from 4pm today is:

  • Buller Medical Centre – a weekend GP clinic will be offered between 2pm and 4pm on Saturday 31 July and Sunday 1 August.
  • Inpatients/Foote Ward
  • Acute Assessment
  • Maternity
  • Phlebotomy (blood testing)
  • Community mental health
  • Community services
  • District Nursing
  • Radiology
  • Hospital kitchen/Meals on Wheels
  • Monday’s Buller Sexual Health Clinic will go ahead

We currently have visitor restrictions in place to help prevent the spread of illness at all DHB facilities. We are requesting that only one person at a time comes in to visit, and that no children come in to visit our facilities. Exceptions will be made on compassionate grounds and should be discussed with the nurse in charge of the area you want to visit.

We’re recommending people wear a mask or other face covering (it can be a fabric mask or scarf but must cover your nose and mouth) when visiting family, whānau or friends at our facilities. We also ask that people visit our facilities for essential purposes only and stay home if they are unwell.

For non-urgent health care, you should call your own general practice team (Coast Medical on 03 789 5000 or Buller Medical Centre on 03 788 9277. After-hours follow the instructions to be transferred to a nurse who can provide free health advice). 

If you don’t have a GP you can call Healthline on 0800 611 116.

For COVID-19 tests over the weekend please call your own GP or Healthline for advice on where to go.

COVID-19 vaccinations will resume from Tuesday 3 August at the Masonic Lodge, 51 Russell Street. This is by appointment only.

Finally, here are some useful numbers for organisations who continue to be available to provide assistance to our community:

If it’s an emergency, please call 111 – emergency services are operating

For health advice at any time

  • Talk confidentially about a meth or P-related issue or problem – 0800 METH HELP 0800 6384 4357
  • The Alcohol Drug Helpline offers support to anyone concerned about their own or someone else’s drug or alcohol use 0800 787 797
  • For wellbeing support you can talk to a counsellor free of charge, call or text 1737 any time of the day or night
  • For pregnancy support and advice over the phone, please call your LMC/midwife.
  • If you have questions about your young child or baby’s health phone Plunketline on 0800 933 922 to speak to a Plunket nurse.
  • You can also visit our HealthInfowebsite for trusted health advice on a range of issues.
  • Buller Pharmacy in Westport, at 168 Palmerston Street is open for over the counter medications and health advice.
  • Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 – calls are answered 24/7. If you need to be seen, they will tell you what to do and where to go.

You can also call the Buller Support line 0800 768 348 to access help and advice. Call to be connected to welfare advice and support or answers to any questions you may have about the recovery efforts.


For further information, contact:



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Page last updated: 30 July 2021

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