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

Buller Health’s 24/7 acute care services to remain operating at reduced capacity

Tuesday 25 October 2022Health news3 minutes to read

Urgent patient stabilisation and observation services provided by Buller Health’s Foote Ward team will remain operating at reduced capacity due to on-going staffing pressures.

For the time being, services will continue to be temporarily provided as follows:

  • On-site urgent patient stabilisation and observation services provided by our Foote Ward team will be available between 7:00am – 11:00pm daily.
  • Outside of these hours, all acute care will be managed in the same way as rural services provided by St John who will be supported by a PRIME trained clinician. Anyone needing admission will be transferred to Greymouth’s Te Nīkau Hospital.

“Unfortunately, the staffing pressures which led to reduced services in Foote Ward’s 24/7 urgent patient stabilisation and observation services over the weekend have not eased. For this reason, we have made the decision to continue temporarily providing reduced services”, says Holly Mason, Te Whatu Ora Te Tai o Poutini West Coast’s Director of Nursing.

“If you or a member of your whānau needs emergency or acute care these services are still available 24/7 – they are just being provided in a different way. Between 11:00pm and 7:00am, instead of presenting to Foote Ward, St John’s staff along with a PRIME trained clinician will come to you.

“While we appreciate that this situation isn’t ideal, we are committed to ensuring the wider-Westport community has access to urgent acute care when it is needed. It’s important that if you are very unwell, we do want to see you so you can get the care you need. In a life-threatening emergency, it’s critical you call 111,” says Ms Mason.

  • For appointments, enquiries, prescriptions or results please phone Buller Medical Centre on 03 788 9277 during week day opening hours (Monday – Friday 8:45am – 5:00pm).
  • If you have a mild illness, you can check the Te Whatu Ora | Te Tai o Poutini West Coast or HealthInfo websites for more information on what to do or where to go if you are unsure.
  • If you are feeling unwell with any condition, you can phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free health advice 24/7 or your general practice team to discuss your situation and symptoms rather than visiting in person. This will ensure that you get to access appropriate treatment and medication to help you stay well, even if you are at home isolating.
  • For COVID-19 health advice please call 0800 358 5453.
  • If you’re worried about yourself, or someone in your whānau who has a respiratory illness, see the checklist here of symptoms to watch out for, and when you should seek medical advice.



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Page last updated: 26 October 2022

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