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

Needing a prescription for your regular medicines?

Monday 20 April 2020Health news4 minutes to read

People needing regular ongoing prescriptions can be reassured these are still available by ringing their general practice, and the medicines are available one month at a time through pharmacies,” Primary Health Organisation Executive Officer Helen Reriti says.

“It’s not unusual for those taking regular medicines to feel anxious about the continuity of medicine supply during the current COVID-19 situation.

“Ongoing regular prescriptions continue to be provided by our general practice teams – we do ask that people don’t ask for prescriptions unless they are due for renewal as there is no need to stockpile medications.  We all have a role to play in keeping medicines available for our community.”

The Government agency responsible for deciding which medicines and medical devices are funded in New Zealand – PHARMAC, along with West Coast pharmacies and suppliers – are continuing to work closely together to maintain a continuous supply. 

PHARMAC has advised pharmacies to dispense only one month’s supply at a time for all medicines.

“There are no changes to either how prescriptions are written at your general practice, or how prescriptions are charged at the pharmacy.  You won’t need to visit your general practice team more frequently, it just means that your usual 3-month prescription is available once a month for three months, managed by the pharmacy.  The medicine label will say if there are repeats (your second and third monthly supplies) available.  You can phone the pharmacy to make arrangements for collection or delivery of these repeats,” Mrs Reriti says.

For anyone wanting to read more, here’s some information from Healthinfo and PHARMAC.

All West Coast general practices remain open for business during the current nationwide COVID-19 Alert Level 4. Although the majority of appointments are now being done virtually by phone, email, text or video it is important that people who need to come in for a face-to-face consultation do so.

Please call your general practice or Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 – high temperature (at least 38°C), cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, sneezing and runny nose, temporary loss of smell.  These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have COVID-19. The symptoms are like other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu. Shortness of breath is a sign of possible pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

If you are unwell, please do not go directly to a pharmacy, general practice or emergency department – ring your general practice team for advice.

For anyone who is feeling stressed and anxious or who needs some advice, then there are places you can CALL for more support, listed below:

  • Phone or text 1737 to be put through to a trained counsellor any time of the day or night. This is a free service for everyone.
  • Your General Practice or rural clinic – contact details here on the DHB website and here on the West Coast Primary Health Organisation website.
  • Poutini Waiora (Māori Health and Social Service) – 0800 333 170
  • Crisis Response (24/7) – 0800 757 678
  • Youthline – 0800 376 633
  • Rural Support Trust – 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)
  • Your employer, through the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

Free online mental wellbeing resources

There are a number of free online apps, toolkits, and other digital resources available to help New Zealanders look after their mental wellbeing.

  • Getting Through Together – tips and advice on how to cope with the stress of COVID-19.
  • Sparklers at Home – a resource for parents to talk with their primary-school-aged children about their mental health and wellbeing.
  • Mentemia – practical tips and techniques to help you take control of your mental wellbeing. 
  • Melon – provides a health journal, resources and self-awareness tools to help you manage your emotional wellbeing.
  • Staying on Track – this online course teaches practical strategies to cope with the stress and disruption to everyday life from COVID-19.

Remember, it’s important to seek immediate help in an emergency – don’t delay.  If you are injured or experiencing severe symptoms it’s critical that you still call 111.



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Page last updated: 20 April 2020

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