There is still a heightened risk to vulnerable people in hospital, so we recommend all people to continue wearing a mask when visiting any of our facilities and follow other advice designed to keep patients, staff and visitors safe.  See our COVID-19 page for general COVID-19 advice, detailed hospital visiting guidelines and COVID-19 tests.

See West Coast COVID-19 vaccination clinics for info on vaccinations.

Last updated:
16 September 2022

Fewer visitor restrictions now apply

For visitors to all facilities (effective from and last updated on 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

Where do I go when I am sick?

If you have COVID-19, influenza or other respiratory illnesses

Please stay home until you are symptom-free. For help treating your symptoms pharmacies have a range of products including lozenges, cough mixture, nasal sprays, and rehydration products.

Signs that you need to call for help or advice when unwell with a respiratory illness

  • Have severe trouble breathing or chest pain
  • Feel very confused or not thinking clearly
  • Feel faint or pass out (lose consciousness)

Call Healthline 24/7 on 0800 358 5453 or your own family doctor if:

  • You have more trouble breathing than usual – can you finish a sentence when speaking? Can you get up and to the bathroom or make a drink without running out of breath?
  • Your symptoms are getting worse
  • You start getting better, then get worse
  • You have symptoms of severe dehydration such as having a very dry mouth and passing on a little urine (pee/mimi)
  • Feeling very light-headed
  • Persistent fever and/or chills that you can’t manage at home
  • Persistent vomiting or diarrhoea which goes on for more than 24 hours

Depending on your illness, there are different places you and your whānau can go for health care on the West Coast.

Remember registering with a general practice team is really important for you and your family. A GP team can develop a relationship with you to have a much better understanding of your unique healthcare needs.


In a medical or mental health emergency, call 111 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department immediately.  Find out more about when to call 111…

The emergency department is only for critical and life-threatening situations, such as head injuries, chest pain, breathing trouble, broken bones, and severe bleeding.  Find out more about Emergency Department services…

Info about the Te Nīkau Hospital & Health Centre Emergency Department

Health clinics – Care around the clock

For almost all non-urgent illnesses and injuries, you should contact your local health clinic or medical centre first.  

Visit here to find a health clinic near you.

Even at night and on weekends when the clinic is closed, a nurse will be available to answer the phone and give you free advice. You can also call HealthLine at 0800 611 116 for free professional health advice at any time.  More about HealthLine…

Your local health team is equipped to deal with a wide range of health issues, and can give you the best advice on where to go if you need help from another service.

Want to manage your own health care online?  Now you can.

Most health clinics and medical centres on the West Coast now offer a service called MyIndici, allowing health consumers registered with them to:

  • Book or cancel appointments,
  • request repeat prescriptions,
  • view lab reports,
  • check and pay their account balance

and more.

Before this service is available to them however enrolled patients will need to pre-register online.

More information and instructions are provided on this page.

Please note that reception at any medical practice will be happy to answer any further questions you might have about this service.

Self care 

A lot of minor illnesses and injuries – such as colds, cuts and scrapes – don’t necessarily need to be seen by a professional.

You can treat minor pain and illnesses by using good hygiene, resting, eating well, drinking lots of water and taking over-the-counter medications as directed on the package.


You can talk to staff at a pharmacy or chemist for advice on minor illnesses and injuries – such as headaches, minor allergies, and painful coughs. They can sell you some treatments and over-the-counter medications.  Visit here to find a pharmacy/chemist near you…

For prescription medications, you will need to consult a doctor or prescribing nurse.

After hours clinic

Your GP team may advise you to visit an after-hours service. This may be if you have a medical condition that is not an emergency, but can’t wait 24 hours to be seen.

Page last updated: 15 March 2023

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