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

Health advice during severe weather event – update 3

Thursday 3 February 2022Health news6 minutes to read

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

Today our West Coast DHB teams have continued their preparations for the expected impacts of the weather event currently occurring on the West Coast. Preparations have been focused on ensuring that our teams can continue delivering health care to anyone needing care during this time.

Staff have also been checking in with our community-based patients and anyone that the team is aware of that might need some additional supports.

Extra staff are also arriving from Canterbury DHB to support our local teams.

In South Westland, our staff continue to provide health care and all clinics are open. The team are working with the local Civil Defence network in preparation for the next weather front.

In Buller, all residents at O’Conor Rest Home have now been evacuated to alternative accommodation.

Our Buller Health team have set up a temporary health service on the south side of the Buller River at the Holcim site located at 901 Cape Foulwind Road, Cape Foulwind.

We have a sizeable team who will relocate to the Holcim site if the time comes to relocate. We also have a smaller team who will move to Ngakawau to attend to anyone needing care north of Westport.

We will provide regular updates once the team is on the move.

Until then, Buller Medical remains open. 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.

If you are registered with Coast Medical, they are still open.  

Please contact the Coast Medical team on 03 789 5000 to arrange an appointment, and after-hours call the usual practice number for free health advice. After hours you’ll be put through to a nurse who can tell you what to do and where to go if you need to be seen. 

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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.

Meals on wheels

Meals on Wheels continues to be provided by our Buller-based WellFood team along with our valued Red Cross volunteers who deliver the meals to recipients in the community.

Keep up your good hygiene habits wherever you are

Wherever you are, remember the usual public health precautions such as good cough and sneeze etiquette, hand hygiene and physical distancing (wherever possible stay one metre away from people you don’t know).

If you need to evacuate, please remember to take your masks (surgical masks are best) and hand sanitizer especially if you are going to an evacuation centre.

If you develop any COVID-19 symptoms, please arrange to get tested immediately and if safe to do so 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 the COVID-19 line on 0800 358 5453 for advice.

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.

COVID-19 vaccination clinics

The Westport vaccination clinic remains closed while our teams respond to this weather event. We anticipate that it will reopen on Tuesday, 8 February however, we will provide an update once details have been confirmed.

Tomorrow (04/02/2022), we have vaccination clinics in Hokitika and in Greymouth 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 (

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

If you need to travel for any reason, please ensure that you check the road conditions prior to departing.



Related topics

Back to Health News

Page last updated: 3 February 2022

Is this page useful?