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

Health advice during severe weather event – update 2

Wednesday 2 February 2022Health news6 minutes to read

Please attribute to Philip Wheble, Incident Controller – West Coast DHB

West Coast DHB continues to prepare for and monitor the expected impact of the current severe weather event occurring on the West Coast.

Today, our staff have been checking in on community-based patients to ensure that everyone has medication and go-bags on hand in the event they need to evacuate.

In South Westland, health care services remain open and our staff are on stand-by to respond as required. If you need to travel for any reason, please ensure that you check the road conditions prior to departing.

In Buller, the majority of residents at O’Conor Rest Home have been evacuated today to alternative accommodation – some have gone to stay with family, a handful to a facility in Nelson-Marlborough, some down to Te Nikau in Greymouth and the majority are now on their way to Christchurch. We have some residents still at O’Conor Rest Home who will be evacuated tomorrow.

Our team involved in arranging these transfers have done an exceptional job in a very short timeframe. The outcome is reflective of how well our health system partners work together during a Civil Defence emergency.

We continue to work through our options for the provision of urgent care services in Buller. At this stage, we are looking to set up two sites in Westport – one on the southern side of the Buller River and a northern site.

We will provide further information regarding on-going access to health care once details have been confirmed.

In the meantime, Buller Medical is open and seeing patients. If you live north of Westport, our rural nurse specialists are available so please continue to access your rural health clinics if you need to. Reefton Health is open for business as usual.

Buller Health’s Foote Ward team is ready to relocate as and when required. While roads remain open and it is safe to do so, anyone requiring hospital level care will be transferred to Greymouth or to another facility depending on their clinical requirements.

DHB staff have also been undertaking a number of steps to minimise any potential flood damage. To-date, the team have relocated the DHB pool vehicles to higher ground on to the new Buller Health facility building site as well as preparing to sandbag doorways and where possible securing the infrastructure tunnels.

Accessing health care

Remember, if you need health advice, please 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.

  • If it’s an emergency, call 111 as per usual
  • 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.
  • You can also visit our HealthInfo website for trusted health advice on a range of issues.
  • If you require essential prescription medications and your supply is running low, call your usual GP number for advice – Find a GP, medical practice, clinic or health centre | West Coast DHB (
  • Buller Pharmacy in Westport, at 168 Palmerston Street is open for over the counter medications and health advice.

Meals on wheels

Our Buller-based WellFood team are continuing to provide the Meals on Wheels service along with our valued Red Cross volunteers who continue to deliver to recipients in the community.

Surgical appointments

Surgical appointments booked for tomorrow (Thursday) at Te Nikau Hospital have been postponed until another date.

COVID-19 vaccination clinics

The Westport vaccination clinic has been closed as the safety of our staff and community is an integral part of our planning for this weather event. While we appreciate that this decision may be inconvenient, our focus at this time is ensuring that we are well prepared for the expected flooding.

The Reefton vaccination clinic is set to go ahead tomorrow (Thursday) from 11am – 3pm at the Reefton Community Hall.

On Friday (04/02/2022), we have clinics in Hokitika and Greymouth which are both open from 10am – 4pm.

On Saturday (05/02/2022), our Greymouth vaccination drive-through clinic at the Greymouth Aerodrome will be open from 10am to 6pm. Please note, that due to the weather event, we will no longer be holding a drive-through clinic on Friday, however you can attend the Greymouth clinic located on the Te Nikau campus instead.

While we are vaccinating 5-11-year olds as well as people 12 years and over, we recommend that bookings are made so that people are not kept waiting. Drop-ins are limited due to the additional time it takes to vaccinate children as fewer people can be vaccinated at each clinic.

You can book online for clinics at or call 0800 28 29 26.

Clinic details are available on our vaccination website – Home – Vaccinate Canterbury and West Coast (

Keep up your good hygiene habits and remember to scan in wherever you are

Now’s also a really good time to ensure that when you are out and about you wear a mask especially indoors, scan in everywhere you go, and show your COVID-19 vaccine pass when you need to. Keeping a good record of where you have been makes the job of contact tracers so much easier.

If you develop any COVID-19 symptoms, please arrange to get tested immediately and remain isolated at home or in the accommodation you are staying in. This advice extends to anyone even if they haven’t visited any of the locations of interest. If you’re not sure what you should do, please call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice.

Be prepared

Check and restock your emergency kit and follow the advice of your local Civil Defence group.

To check what you may need, visit

Here is a link with flood-specific advice:

Stay up-to-date

For the latest updates, ‘like’ your local District Council’s Facebook page, or check the latest news on their website:

Weather conditions

To get the most up to date information on severe weather around the country, or any other forecasts, see or download the MetService mobile app.

Road conditions



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Page last updated: 2 February 2022

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