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

Canterbury and West Coast DHBs preparing for planned PSA strike

Monday 9 May 2022Health news3 minutes to read

Canterbury and West Coast DHBs are preparing for further planned industrial action by the Public Service Association. The nationwide action involves a full withdrawal of labour for 24 hours from 11.59pm on Sunday 15 May to 11.59pm on Monday 16 May.

This is in addition to the ongoing ‘work to rule’ period between Monday 9 May and Friday 20 May, where staff members of the PSA are instructed by their union:

  • not to work before agreed paid start times
  • not to work after agreed paid start times
  • to stop work to take all the breaks they are entitled to.

In Canterbury 39 professions and over 1500 Public Health, Scientific and Technical staff will be affected by the PSA strike. On the West Coast, 23 professions and more than 120 staff members of PSA union are affected.

Our therapeutic, rehabilitation, laboratory, occupational therapy and diagnostic services as well as other clinical support services and Hauora Māori will be severely impacted during the time of the strike.

However, the industrial action won’t affect COVID-19 testing services and it is really important people who need to get tested on the day of the strike make sure they still do. Likewise, vaccination sites will still be providing COVID-19 vaccinations.

Canterbury and West Coast DHBs Chief Executive, Dr Peter Bramley, says if this industrial action goes ahead as planned it will cause significant disruption to health services across the two DHBs, particularly to lab results which will be delayed as they catch up with the backlog.

“Services such as the Emergency Department at Christchurch Hospital have warned that there will be delays during the period of the strike,” says Peter.

The 24-hour strike will generally affect patient flow, in particular some discharges back to community where physio, social work, occupational therapy and dietitians are often involved.

Where it is appropriate and safe to do so we will discharge patients home ahead of the strike to reduce the pressure on those staff who are working.

A large number of outpatient clinics, community clinics, elective surgery and procedures are likely to have to be deferred on Monday. People will be re-booked to the next available time. If they are not contacted, they can expect their procedure or appointment to go ahead as normal.

“While community collection centres will be open in Canterbury for blood tests, all community collection centres will be closed on the West Coast. Hospital laboratory staff will only be processing urgent inpatient blood tests,” says Peter.

Some of the professions affected in Canterbury and the West Coast are:

  • Anaesthetic Technicians
  • Audiologists
  • Biomedical Technicians
  • Clinical engineering
  • Dental Therapists
  • Dietitians
  • Health Protection Officers
  • Hospital play specialists
  • Kaiāwhina (Allied Health Assistants)
  • Laboratory staff
  • Māori Health staff
  • Newborn Hearing Screeners
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Orthoptists and Optometrists 
  • Pharmacists and Technicians and pharmacy assistants
  • Phlebotomists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Play Specialists
  • Podiatrists 
  • Psychologists
  • Radiology assistants
  • Social Workers
  • Speech-language Therapists
  • Sterile Services staff
  • Technicians (e.g. Neurophysiology, Hyperbaric)

“We respect the right of staff to take industrial action and acknowledge the important role that health workers play in delivering high quality care.

“Our priority, as always, is the safety of patients and we want to reassure our community that you will still receive emergency and urgent care during the strike,” says Peter.



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Page last updated: 9 May 2022

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