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.

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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

Temporary changes introduced to Te Whatu Ora physiotherapy services on the West Coast

Thursday 8 December 2022Health news2 minutes to read

Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand’s physiotherapy services on the West Coast are currently experiencing significant staffing shortages. As a result, temporary changes to how services will be delivered across the Coast over the next three months have been implemented.

Te Whatu Ora Acting Director of Allied Health, Scientific & Technical on the West Coast Margot van Mulligen says: “Like many other health services across the motu (nation), we are feeling the impact of the national and international shortage of health care professionals.

“Unfortunately, our staffing levels have now reached a point where our capacity to provide a comprehensive physiotherapy service has become unsustainable. While we continue our efforts to recruit on both national and international platforms, we need to implement temporary changes to how services are provided across the West Coast.

“Coast-wide, there are currently only three permanent physiotherapists available to cover all areas – inpatients, outpatients and community. While we cannot provide all services, we will still accept referrals from GPs and other health professionals where physiotherapy input is essential to prevent serious harm or poor health outcomes.

“To assist with the current workload, we have secured the support of a physiotherapist from Dunedin until Christmas and have two new graduates starting in late-January 2023. As part of their orientation, each graduate will be provided with the opportunity to gain a broad range of skills and experience in a rural health setting. They will be supported and mentored by senior physiotherapists and will spend their time rotating between outpatients and our community team,” says Ms van Mulligen.

In the meantime, if you need non-urgent physiotherapy support, here are some options:

  • Check out for information on a range of health topics, including how to stay well and recover from injuries.
  • Speak with your health provider for advice and discuss if a referral to physiotherapy is essential.
  • If you have seen a physiotherapist before for the same issue, use the strategies they gave you at the time.
  • Contact a private physiotherapy provider for options. There are private providers in Hokitika, Greymouth and Westport.
  • If you need physiotherapy after having an accident, you can self-refer and go straight to a private physiotherapist, and they will fill out all the ACC paperwork for you.



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Page last updated: 8 December 2022

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