All hospital visitors are recommended to wear a medical face mask. For more information about visiting: Visitors and family. See our COVID-19 page for general COVID-19 advice, detailed hospital visiting guidelines and COVID-19 tests.

See West Coast COVID-19 vaccination clinics for info on vaccinations link COVID-19 Vaccination • West Coast • Healthpoint

Last updated:
16 September 2022

Fewer visitor restrictions now apply

For visitors to all facilities (effective from and last updated on 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

Drone technology set to provide valuable support to the delivery of health care services on the West Coast

Friday 16 December 2022Health news5 minutes to read

Swoop Aero is set to launch New Zealand’s first integrated drone logistics network in partnership with Te Whatu Ora in early 2023.

The network will connect Greymouth and Westport, providing integrated drone logistics. Initially, the project which is funded through Te Whatu Ora-Led Improvement Sustainability Funding will concentrate on the collection of pathology samples from Westport for rapid processing in Greymouth. In the future, it may also include the delivery of other urgently required items like clinical supplies between both locations. The service will enhance health outcomes for local residents and build resilience into the supply chain on the West Coast.

Te Whatu Ora General Manager on the West Coast, Philip Wheble says, “the use of this type of technology offers an exciting opportunity in how laboratory services are provided to Buller residents. We envisage drone transfers will be used for urgent pathology services and during Civil Defence emergencies”.

“In the past 18 months, the Buller community has experienced three significant weather events resulting in road closures between Westport and Greymouth. Having access to this technology during Civil Defence emergencies will enable our teams to continue providing these services with minimal disruption”.

Te Whatu Ora National Director of Improvement and Innovation Dr Dale Bramley said the arrival of a drone delivery service in the New Zealand health system offered great potential.

“This technology has been trialled successfully overseas and the new service between Greymouth and Westport will help establish whether drones could play a future role in the movement of time-sensitive medications, specimens and other medical goods across the country.

“The use of drone technology offers the potential to reduce transport times, particularly in places such as Auckland where traffic congestion is a major issue. We will watch with interest to assess the benefits of a potential wider rollout.”

Swoop Aero was founded to make access to the skies seamless and is a global leader in integrated drone logistics. Since 2017, Swoop Aero networks have carried out over 23,000 flights, having received advanced aviation approvals in 14 countries, which has enabled the delivery of over 1.3 million items.

Swoop Aero’s team will continue to work with the Civil Aviation Authority to gain the aviation approvals required for the launch of the network, to ensure the Swoop Aero platform meets the highest global safety standards to enable the seamless integration of drone logistics. Before the project gets off the ground, the team will also be seeking the necessary resource consents.

Swoop Aero’s CEO and Co-founder Eric Peck says, “Swoop Aero has proven that we are global leaders in drone logistics, with successfully sustained networks from Malawi to Australia. We are proud to now announce Aotearoa New Zealand’s first integrated drone logistics network in partnership with Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand”.

“Integrated drone logistics bridges the gaps in society's infrastructure by overcoming vast distances, traffic congestion, location inaccessibility, inhospitable terrain, and data shortages, and by leveraging the most advanced technology-based drone logistics platform on the market, Swoop Aero will unlock the skies above New Zealand.

“Over the coming months, Swoop Aero will engage with aviation operators and the wider community on the West Coast to provide further information on the next giant leap in how essential supplies and services are delivered”, says Mr Peck.


Note to editors:

  • The drone, called Kite, weighs less than 25kg when fully loaded and can carry up to 5kg in a cold-chain enabled chamber compartment that keeps samples between 2ºC and 8ºC.
  • It has a cruise speed of 122km/h and can cover 175km on a single battery.
  • It can fly between Westport and Greymouth in 35 minutes.
  • The drone is controlled by the pilot using the mobile network or satellite communications, and is flown remotely on a pre-programmed flight path.
  • It takes off and lands vertically, requiring only a 5m-by-5m footprint.
  • It is capable of take-off and landing in winds up to 50km/h.
  • Drones fly below 400 feet Above-Ground-Level (AGL) to avoid aircraft which fly from 500 feet upward.
  • Additional operational enquiries –
  • Swoop Aero is an Australian integrated drone logistics company founded in 2017 to unlock the potential of the sky with the only end-to-end drone logistics infrastructure on the planet. With drone fleets operational in 14 countries serving 4.3 million people and over 23,000 safe operational flights, the Swoop Aero technology platform and flagship fully managed service enables seamless drone logistics at scale. The core Swoop Aero service is a turnkey operation of an integrated drone logistics service for entire populations, offering a range of services from medical delivery to emergency management, retail and e-commerce. Swoop Aero's goal is to make their service accessible to 1 billion people in 2030.

Since its founding, Swoop Aero has worked with some of the largest organisations in global logistics across four continents, including UPS, EBOS, UNICEF, the Gates Foundation, UK Aid and USAID.

To learn more about Swoop Aero:


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Page last updated: 16 December 2022

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