Hospital visiting guidelines updated 20 July 2022: Hospital visitors must wear a surgical/medical paper mask. Fabric face coverings are no longer acceptable. See our COVID-19 pages for detailed information about hospital visiting guidelinesCOVID-19 tests and care in the community advice. See for information about vaccinations.

We are at ORANGE according to the NZ COVID-19 Protection Framework

Last updated:
9th April 2022

  • For visitors to all facilities effective from Wednesday 20 July 2022With the recent resurgence in cases in Canterbury, largely due to the Omicron BA.5 subvariant we are seeing an increase in demand right across the health system. Presentations to our Christchurch ED and Ashburton’s AAU are higher than ever and admission rates are high, which means we have a shortage of resourced beds.Recently, we have seen too many unwell people coming to visit someone in hospital and too many that cannot or will not wear a medical mask. This increases the risk to vulnerable people in hospital. For these reasons we need to everything we can to minimise these risks.We have therefore tightened visitor restrictions for all Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury hospitals and health facilities.

    Kia whakahaumaru te whānau, me ngā iwi katoa – this is to keep everybody safe:

    • One visitor per patient in the hospital at any given time, except where stated otherwise in the ‘exceptions’ section below.
    • No visitors under 16 to any part of our facilities.
    • No visitors to COVID +ve patients other than in exceptional circumstances.
    • No eating or drinking at the bedside or anywhere other than cafes or areas designated for eating/drinking, as taking your mask off puts patients at risk.
    • Visitors or support people must not visit our facilities if they are unwell with cold or flu-like symptoms (even if they have tested negative) or have had a recent tummy bug.
    • Do not visit if you are COVID +ve or a household contact of someone who has tested positive
    • Surgical/medical masks must be worn at all times at all sites and will be provided if people don’t have them. Mask exemptions do not apply in our facilities – people who cannot tolerate a mask cannot visit at this time.
    • Hand sanitiser stations are visible and must be used.

    By sticking to the rules above, you help keep our patients, staff, other visitors and yourself safe. We 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.

    Exceptions to the ‘one visitor’ policy

    • Exceptions can apply in some circumstances where trusted whānau members provide assistance, reassurance and other support for therapeutic care or on compassionate grounds – please talk to the ward’s Charge Nurse to discuss this before you come to hospital to visit. For whānau with an essential support role as a Partner in Care – again, please check with the ward’s Charge Nurse before you come to hospital to visit.
    • People attending Christchurch ED or Ashburton AAU can have one support person with them.
    • Women in labour and in the birthing suite can have two named support people + their community LMC/midwife if they have one – for the duration of the birth only. All other women on the Maternity Ward are allowed one support person for the duration of their stay in our facilities at Christchurch Women’s Hospital and other maternity units. Only one support person can be with each woman in the maternity ward, and one support person for maternity clinic appointments. No under 16s are allowed to visit or attend appointments.
    • Parents/caregivers can be with their baby in NICU.
    • Parents/caregivers are able to be with their child in hospital (Except Children’s Haematology and Oncology Day patients where only one parent or caregiver is permitted).
    • People requiring support when attending an appointment can have one support person. Please let the relevant service know if you need this so they are able to accommodate your request.

    Visiting patients with COVID-19

    • To avoid them becoming infected with COVID-19 and passing it one, visitors to COVID-19 positive patients will not be allowed except in extenuating circumstances – by prior agreement with the Charge Nurse Manager only, and wearing an N95 mask.
    • Other methods of communication will be facilitated e.g. phone, facetime, zoom etc.

    You must NOT visit the hospital if you

    • are a household contact of a COVID-19 positive case
    • are COVID-19 positive
    • Have a cold or flu/COVID-19-like symptoms (even if you are testing negative for COVID-19)

    Exceptions for people with disabilities

    An exception will be made for people with disabilities who are in hospital or have to attend an outpatient appointment – where they need a support person to access health services. For example, a sign language interpreter, support person for someone with a learning disability, or someone to assist with mobility. The support person is in addition to the one permitted visitor.

    Everyone visiting our facilities must wear a mask, no exceptions

    While we appreciate that some people have legitimate reasons for being exempt from wearing a mask and may even have an official card to confirm this, people who cannot or will not wear a mask cannot visit someone in hospital or attend hospital, other than to access healthcare. This is another measure to minimise the risk to vulnerable patients.

    Patients and visitors should also read the additional more detailed visiting guidelines for each specific hospital.

    More COVID-19 information


The Haematology department at Canterbury Health Laboratories offers an extensive range of diagnostic and clinical services, which covers all blood and coagulation disorders.

Core Haematology

Core Haematology processes full blood counts using a fully automated Sysmex track incorporating three XN analysers and two slidemaker stainers.

Blood film morphology is reported with the aid of DI60, a digital automated blood cell analysis system. A consultative service is available for referral of blood and bone marrow analysis and a Haematologist is available at all times for advice and interpretation.

Haemostasis (Coagulation)

The Haemostasis laboratory is part of the Haematology Department and is responsible for the testing of the haemostasis system. This includes tests for thrombotic and bleeding disorders and the monitoring of anticoagulant therapies.

The laboratory is a major referral centre for specialist haemostasis testing such as Thrombophilia, Lupus Anticoagulant, von Willebrand and Platelet function testing as well as most other haemostasis tests. It also works closely with the clinical haemostasis department to provide clinical and laboratory advice and is involved in numerous clinical trials.

Surface Markers

The Surface Markers laboratory is a specialist area of Haematology which uses flow cytometry technology. The majority of testing performed focuses on the detection and classification of leukaemia and lymphoma.

Other tests carried out in this laboratory include diagnosis of paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH), estimation of fetomaternal haemorrhage using anti-HbF antibodies, CD34+ stem cell enumeration and assessment of minimal/measurable residual disease in patients with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

Diagnosis and management of many haematological disorders is achieved through a coordinated approach involving morphological, immunophenotypic, cytogenetic and molecular assessment.

Specialist Haematology

The Special Haematology lab is the part of the core Haematology laboratory where specialist tests to diagnose thalassaemia, abnormal haemoglobins and haemolytic anaemia are performed.

Thalassaemia and haemoglobinopathy testing comprises a series of tests, including haemoglobin electrophoresis techniques, HPLC, stability testing and alpha thalassaemia screening, to reach a conclusive result; this work also often involves referral for further testing, such as DNA sequencing of alpha and beta genes, and mass spectrometry, to other departments when indicated.

Haemolytic anaemia testing primarily involves the screening, and subsequent quantitative determination of G6PD in blood, as well as Pyruvate Kinase screening and Urine Haemosiderin testing.