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

Aluminium, Plasma

Diagnostic Use

Aluminium is the most abundant metal in the earth's crust, 8.8% by weight, exceeded in abundance only by oxygen and silicon. Aluminium does not occur naturally in the metallic state; however it is widely distributed in rocks, clay and soils in the form of gems such as ruby, sapphire and turquoise and in minerals of industrial importance such as alum, bauxite, cryolite, corundum and kaolin.

Because of the ubiquitous distribution of aluminium compounds, natural human exposure is unavoidable, and moderate amounts of the element enter the body constantly through inhalation of atmospheric dusts and ingestion of food and drink. Despite an oral intake ranging from 5 10 mg daily, little aluminium is absorbed and serum levels of 0.07-0.30 mol/L are usually found. Tissue aluminium levels are very low. No biological function for the metal has been found, moreover, life has evolved in an environment so rich in aluminium that it would be surprising if human beings could not tolerate substantial variations in exposure without ill effects. Under most circumstances this tolerance appears to hold. Industrial aluminium toxicity is rare and tissue concentrations of the metal have apparently been affected little by extensive use of aluminium products and cookware. The application of thousands of kilograms of aluminium products as antiperspirants has not caused toxicity except for occasional local irritation. Indeed, a considerable body of experimental data gathered over many years suggests the presence of formidable epithelial barriers to aluminium absorption in the lung, the gastrointestinal tract and the skin.

High levels of aluminium can accumulate in the tissues of patients with chronic renal failure2 on long term haemodialysis treatment. The increased tissue load of aluminium may be derived from:

1. Intestinal absorption following administration of aluminium hydroxide gels used to control the high plasma phosphate levels found in chronic renal failure (May also be used as an antacid). Patients have in the past ingested up to several kilograms of elemental aluminium over their dialysis 'career'

2. Water used for haemodialysis may contain aluminium which will dialyse across the dialysis membrane and lead to raised plasma aluminium and tissue aluminium levels. A single dialysis may expose the patient's blood to as much as 250 L of water (39 000 L per year)

3. The dialysis concentrate used to prepare the dialysate may contain high levels of aluminium and lead to substantial contamination of the dialysate fluid

The increased tissue content of aluminium appears to be the major factor in the aetiology of dialysis dementia and dialysis osteodystrophy. The prevention of iatrogenic aluminium poisoning involves caution in the use of aluminium containing oral phosphate binders, together with regular monitoring of:
i. the aluminium content of the dialysate
ii. the domestic tap water used to prepare the dialysate and
iii. monitoring of serum aluminium levels in patients on long term haemodialysis treatment


Lipids/Trace Metals

Delphic Registration Code


Turnaround Time

5 days

Test Code