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

West Coast physio shortages result in changes

Tuesday 26 September 2017Media release2 minutes to read

A national shortage of DHB-based physiotherapists means the West Coast DHB has had to implement temporary changes to services for patients. 

Allied Health Associate Director Jane George says ongoing challenges with recruiting, combined with staff leaving or retiring has meant the West Coast DHB is very short-staffed.

“A decision has been made to discontinue Hokitika-based DHB physiotherapy services in the short term, until we are able to recruit to that position.  We realise this could provide difficulties for some patients, and we have sent letters to all current Hokitika patients with options for them.

“Referrals, if accepted under our usual triage processes, can be placed on the Greymouth outpatient waiting list.  Or patients can contact one of the two private physiotherapy services in Hokitika,” she says.

Work is underway to encourage more new graduates to consider working in DHB settings, but many DHBs, like ours, are struggling to recruit. 

“The West Coast DHB and our transalpine neighbours at the Canterbury DHB have been looking offshore for potential physiotherapy staff, with some success.  That work continues but we expect it may still take some months before we have new staff on board,” Ms George says.

It is likely that many patients referred for outpatient physiotherapy across the district will experience longer than usual wait times.

“We are mindful that delays can be extremely uncomfortable for our patients and we apologise that we cannot accommodate everyone's needs immediately.  We are re-doubling our efforts to recruit.  Where someone feels their health is being compromised by the delays, they should get back in touch with their general practice to discuss options.”


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Page last updated: 17 April 2019

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