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

Traces of asbestos found in Westport Health Facilities

Thursday 29 August 2019Media release3 minutes to read

Please attribute to Philip Wheble, General Manager – West Coast District Health Board

West Coast DHB has closed off the service tunnel, service cupboards and restricted access to the Pakington Street Energy Centre at the Buller Health facility after testing confirmed the presence of asbestos.

The asbestos was detected after specialist asbestos assessors were contracted to carry out an asbestos survey of the existing facility in relation to the demolition required for the new Buller Health facility.

Immediately on receiving the survey results last month, we restricted access to the affected areas as a precaution before undertaking further assessment work, including extensive swab sample testing and air testing. Very few staff and no patients have access to any of these areas and so potential exposure to asbestos has been limited to some maintenance staff and contractors.

Asbestos can pose a risk to health when the fibres have been disturbed and people are regularly exposed to them (most commonly people who are exposed to loose asbestos fibres frequently). We have been working closely with our staff that regularly access these areas and have offered them health checks, further information, counselling and other support as appropriate.

External environmental experts will be engaged as part of the asbestos containing material management plan, with the view to analyse the most appropriate decontaminating/encapsulating procedures leading up to the planned demolition associated with the building of the new Buller Health facility.

To reiterate, no members of the public have had access to the areas where asbestos fibres have been found, and the decontamination/encapsulation processes will not expose anyone but the specialist contractors to asbestos – and they will use appropriate protective equipment.

The Buller Medical Centre building, currently occupied by our general practice and allied health services, has also been identified as having asbestos containing materials (ACMs) obstructing the ceiling access hatches used for maintenance and repair. Although the building is considered safe to occupy because the asbestos is contained in the roof space, because of the location of the ACMs, we need to close the facility to undertake any urgent repairs, maintenance or cleaning that would require entry to the roof space.

As this could potentially be disruptive to service delivery, we have decided to relocate these services as part of the planned decamp and demolition needed to make way for construction of the new facility.

We are currently developing a decant allocation plan which we will share with the Buller community once the details have been confirmed. The relocation of services will be a staged process to minimise the disruption to services.



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Page last updated: 28 August 2019

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