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

West Coast makes 999,999th electronic referral

Wednesday 23 March 2016Media release2 minutes to read

Two minutes after West Coast District Health Board Rural Hospital Medicine Registrar Adele Pheasant referred a patient using the South Island Electronic Request Management System (ERMS), another doctor hit the big time.

West Coast health professionals are joining South Island colleagues in celebrating the one millionth referral using an electronic system to ensure patients get seen by the right people.

“I actually didn't know I was making the 999,999th referral,” Dr Pheasant says. “I've used the ERMS system for a few years now and it's invaluable on the Coast – it's secure, it's so much better than the old paper-based system, and I feel confident that my patients will be followed up by the right people.”

“Development of the South Island Electronic Request Management System (ERMS) began in Canterbury in 2009. Through collaboration between district health boards, the system was implemented across the entire South Island, effectively enabling referrals across DHB boundaries anywhere in the South Island, and offering a faster, smoother health journey to over a million people.

Using ERMS, general practice teams make a referral or request for specialist advice via an electronic form, which is submitted directly to a secure database. From there, requests are delivered automatically to any one of over 700 South Island community and hospital services, both public and private.

“ERMS is infinitely more efficient than the old paper-based referral system,” South Island Information Services Service Level Alliance Chair Andrew Bowers says. “GPs and other referrers can select the most appropriate and convenient specialist provider and will be able to track their referrals, which provides certainty, clarity and transparency across the system.

“It's been really positive witnessing how the five South Island DHBs have worked together to reach this point. We now have one system across the whole region, which means more than a million people now have better access to high quality care when they need it.”

Canterbury and West Coast District Health Boards Chief Executive David Meates was proud the South Island health system had reached this significant milestone.

“More than a million everyday successes add up to one very significant one. ERMS makes sure a request gets a response, helps protect patient privacy, and cuts waste out of the system but saving everyone's time,” Mr Meates says.

A Dunedin GP Dr Jan Cottle made the one millionth referral last Friday.


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Page last updated: 17 April 2019

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