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 pharmacies

Pharmacies are partners in the West Coast Health System. They distribute prescription medicines and give health advice for non-urgent conditions. Most West Coast pharmacies are privately owned and operated.
Learn more about pharmacists and medications and pharmacy & medications on the Healthinfo website.  Or learn about prescription renewals and how to get them.

Find a pharmacy

Unichem Te Nīkau Pharmacy, Greymouth

Olsen’s Healthcare, Reefton

Prescription medications are sent by mail from Mason’s Pharmacy in Greymouth ((please allow for overnight service).

Visit Olsen’s Healthcare’s Facebook website

Unichem Olsen’s Pharmacy, Greymouth

Visit Olsen’s Pharmacy’s website

Buller Pharmacy, Westport

  • 03 789 7629
  • 168 Palmerston St
  • Open Hours:
    Weekdays: 8:30am – 5pm
    Saturdays: 9:30am – 12:30pm
    Sundays: Closed

Westland Pharmacy, Hokitika

  • 03 755 8150
  • 10 Weld St
  • Open Hours:
    Weekdays: 8:30am – 5:15pm
    Saturdays: 9:30am – 12:30pm
    Sundays: 10am – 12pm

Visit Westland Pharmacy’s website

You can also find West Coast pharmacies by location on the Healthpoint website or by searching for “pharmacy” on Google Maps. Google Maps should show pharmacies in your area if you have location services on your smartphone or another device.

After hours

Currently West Coast pharmacies do not provide an after hours service.


Cheap or free prescriptions

The Government subsidises many prescription medicines in New Zealand. For most people, subsidised prescriptions will cost $5 each.
These prescriptions are free for children under 13 years old.
Subsidised prescriptions are often generic medicines .
Families who collect 20 prescription items in a year are eligible for a subsidy, so they won’t have to pay any more prescription fees until February the following year. Find out more about prescription subsidies at the Ministry of Health website .

Other prescriptions

Some prescriptions will cost more than $5 if they not subsidised or only partially subsidised. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the costs for your prescription.
Non-prescription medicines and other items
Pharmacies sell non-prescription medicine such as basic pain relief and cough medicine. Each pharmacy decides its own costs for these medicines and any other items it might sell.

Free advice

Pharmacies can give you free advice on how to treat basic illnesses and injuries.

When should I go to the pharmacy?

Pharmacies are a good source of information and advice about treating minor illnesses and injuries.
Consider talking to a pharmacist for advice about:

  • Cuts and scrapes
  • Coughs and colds
  • Mild pain and headaches
  • Sneezing and minor allergies
  • Foot fungus
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexual health
  • Sunscreen and skin care
  • Rashes
  • Vitamins and supplements

Read our advice on where to go when you are sick [link to new “Where do I go when I am sick?” page in Using the Health System].
If you are very unwell…
In an emergency call 111.
If you need a diagnosis or medical care, call your GP (family doctor) at any time of the day or night to talk to a nurse or book an appointment.
Generic medicine
These are medications that don’t have a “brand name”. They are made by a company that did not invent the medicine, and are usually cheaper. They have the same active ingredient and side effects as better-known brands of the same drug.
The Government often subsidises prescriptions of a generic version of a well-known medicine. This means the generic version may cost you as little as $5 with a prescription.
Pharmac has more information on generic medicines [].


Page last updated: 2 September 2020

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