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 DHB Alert Level 4 information for visitors and patients

Wednesday 18 August 2021Health news5 minutes to read

Information for visitors and patients

West Coast DHB has reinstated its no-visitor policy across all facilities from 11:59 last night in line with the Government’s Alert Level 4 lockdown announcement. There are some exceptions which are outlined below.

Unless you have been contacted by phone to advise that your planned (elective) surgery is going ahead whilst the Coast is at Alert Level 4, please assume it has been postponed and do not turn up to the hospital.

Masks or face coverings must be worn at all times at West Coast DHB sites and will be provided if people don’t have them. Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must also be used.

Please scan in using the QR code, wherever you go using the government’s COVID-19 Tracer App, and ensure Bluetooth is turned on within the app – this means you’ll receive alerts if you’ve been exposed to a case.

Changes to key services are as follows:

Outpatients and planned surgery

Most planned elective surgery will be postponed and rescheduled. If you haven’t heard from the DHB you can safely assume your surgery or outpatient clinic has been postponed. We will only be contacting people whose urgent surgery is going ahead.

Renal Patients

Renal patients need to still attend their dialysis appointments. Please turn up as you normally would to your dialysis appointment and wear a face covering or mask.

Cancer patients

Those patients receiving chemotherapy will continue to do so as planned. Please come to your scheduled appointments and wear a face covering or mask.

Nursing and midwives strike notices withdrawn

The DHB has received official confirmation from the NZNO and MERAS that they have withdrawn the strike notices pertaining to strike action planned for this Thursday 19 August. The withdrawal is in light of the Level 4 lockdown.


A no-visitor policy across all our facilities is now in place – the only exceptions are listed below:

  • Compassionate grounds – please check with the Duty Nurse Manager before you come to hospital to visit.
  • Women in labour are allowed one support person who can then stay the duration of the woman’s postnatal care BUT can’t leave the room/ward during this time.
  • One parent/caregiver is welcome to be with their child in hospital. 
  • People with disabilities can have one support person.

Emergency Department

Remains open but no support people or visitors will be allowed unless they have permission from the Clinical Nurse Manager (CNM). One parent or caregiver can accompany their child and a person with disabilities can have one support person.

Maternity patients

Women in labour should follow their care plan as described by their Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) The DHB’s maternity units will remain open but closed to visitors apart from one support person with a labouring woman.

Urgent (life-threatening) Acute surgery

Urgent/acute surgery as a result of illness or injury will go ahead.

COVID vaccine appointments

There has been a 48 hour pause on vaccine appointments nationwide. If you have an appointment within the next 48 hours do not turn up to your appointment. This will be rescheduled. More details to come.

COVID-19 testing

Call your general practice team 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 – to arrange a test.

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.

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels will continue to be distributed, however there may be some delays due to driver availability. Meal delivery will be ‘contactless’ with drivers wearing PPE and following strict hand hygiene protocols.

GP Appointments

If you have an appointment over the next three days please call your General Practice team for advice on whether your consultation can be done over the phone, by video or in person.  All General Practices are open.


Community Pharmacies are essential health services and will be open for prescriptions and over the counter medications. Please do not visit if you are sick. Always wear a mask and practice physical distancing – stay at least two metres away from people you don’t know.


All radiology appointments at West Coast DHB facilities – other than those needing acute care have been postponed and will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

Te Nīkau Hospital & Health Centre

The only entrance open will be the main entrance to Te Nīkau Hospital & Health Centre – Everyone will have to scan or sign in when they enter the hospital and wear a mask or face covering.

Rural facilities and WCDHB-operated ARC facilities

No visitors – only on compassionate grounds by arrangement.

Please follow the rules as this will help us all return to normal more quickly.

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
  • 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)
  • Programmes provided by your employer e.g. through the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

More information about Alert Level 4 is available from



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Page last updated: 19 August 2021

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