Visiting hours, rules and tips | Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand | Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty

Visiting hours, rules and tips

Visiting guidelines and notes for the safety and wellbeing of our patients and staff.

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Restricted visiting

Tauranga and Whakatāne hospitals, will remain open and operate normally where possible while managing public health risks.

All visitors to our healthcare facilities must have no confirmation or suspicion of COVID-19.

Visitors are asked to:

  • wearing a face mask is recommended
  • observe strict hand hygiene
  • practice physical distancing.

To help protect patients and staff, visitors to the hospitals’ emergency departments will be asked questions about their exposure to respiratory illnesses.

Please be kind to our staff – they are doing their best to keep everyone safe.

Visiting hours: 8am–8pm daily.

  • High risk areas: Patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), High Dependency Unit (HDU), Critical Care Unit (CCU), Acute Care Unit (ACU), Emergency Department (ED), Aged Care, Mental Health & Addiction Services and Perioperative Department/SAU may have one approved visitor per day. On compassionate grounds, a roster of visitors (only two at a time) may be arranged.
  • Maternity: A person in labour or birth can have two nominated support people visiting. Two nominated support people can visit at other times.
  • Wāhanga Piripoho / Neonatal Unit: Māmā (mother) and one nominated support person can visit any baby in the unit per day.
  • Tamariki: Two parents or guardians may visit any hospitalised child.
  • All other hospital areas: patients may have two visitors at any one time per day.

Clinical nurse managers, clinical midwife managers or duty nurse managers will consider additional requests on a case-by-case basis for compassionate reasons. In assessing requests for Māori whānau visits, they will consult with Te Pare ō Toi.

Emergency Department

Our ED remains open for urgent care, but there will be restricted access for support people or visitors. Requests outside of the Visitor Policy will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. You will be asked to wear a mask in the Emergency Department.

Information about surgeries and appointments

We are currently prioritising acute, urgent, and semi-acute services, including surgeries and procedures. Planned care, including elective surgery and radiology, will be provided in order of clinical priority. Some non-urgent services or treatments may be deferred.

For Māori patients, if you need tikanga support in any appointment (including telephone or video appointments), we can arrange to have a Pou Kōkiri (tikanga expert) attend your appointment to support you.

Urgent (life-threatening) acute surgery

Urgent/acute surgery as a result of illness or injury will go ahead.

Outpatients and planned care

Some outpatient appointments and non-urgent planned care (elective surgery/procedures) will continue as normal, but most will be conducted via telephone or video link. A member of our team will contact you about your appointment.

If you have not been contacted, please do not come to the hospital, but free-phone our patient information centre on 0800 333 477 (from 8.00 am to 4.30 pm Monday to Friday - outside of these times, please leave a detailed message).

Cancer patients

Patients receiving chemotherapy and radiation therapy will continue with staggered treatment times to allow for social distancing.

You will need to wear a face mask while in the cancer treatment areas. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or concerns, please contact your treatment provider before your appointment.

Some patients with scheduled assessment appointments with an oncologist will be contacted by telephone, as some face-to-face clinics will not occur during Alert Level 2.

Renal patients

Renal patients on in-centre dialysis will be treated as usual. However, there may be some changes in times due to the need to maintain social distancing in departments. Staff will contact you if there are any changes.

If you have symptoms or suspect you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please call the renal unit for advice before coming for dialysis.

Home based dialysis (PD) patients will be contacted by PD nursing staff and supported by telephone. If you have any concerns, please make contact the renal service at the usual 0800 number.

If you are booked for a renal clinic, this will not be-face to-face and you will be contacted by telephone.

Maternity care in hospitals

Women may have one nominated support person during labour and birth.

Following birth, one nominated support person at a time may visit once daily and stay as long as the person who has given birth wants.

Māmā (mother) and one nominated support person can visit any baby in the Wāhanga Piripoho / Neonatal Unit per day.

For our Māori māmā, if you need tikanga support while in our care, we can arrange for one of our wāhine Pou Kōkiri (tikanga expert) to be available to you.

All people not in active labour are to wear a mask when they are within two metres of another person not from within their bubble.

All staff are to wear a mask if they are within two metres of a person who is pregnant or who has given birth, a baby, or a support person.

Advice from the Ministry of Health about labour and birth and postnatal care is:

  • The Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) remains responsible for labour and birth care for their clients who do not have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
  • People who are pregnant and have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are transferred to the DHB for labour and birth care.
  • People who are pregnant and are in self-isolation for epidemiological risk (this means recent travel or contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case) and are well/asymptomatic, remain the responsibility of the LMC for labour and birth.
COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Vaccine appointments are operating, but COVID-19 protocols apply, including physical distancing and the wearing of a mask or face covering. Vaccinations are by appointment only, which ensures we can maintain safe practices.

GP appointments

General practices will be open during the new COVID-19 protection framework, but appointments will still be conducted online or by phone where possible. You can see your doctor or nurse face-to-face if required.


Community pharmacies remain open, and all pharmacy services continue. Some pharmacies will conduct some services online or by phone, with in-person services available for people who do not have reliable access to technology and the internet.

Please do not visit a pharmacy if you are sick.

Kia ū te manawarere!
Please follow the rules - this will help us all return to normal more quickly.

Guidelines when visiting our hospitals

Please help us to do this by following these guidelines.

  • Be considerate. Please show consideration and respect for all patients and the staff caring for them. This will help us to deliver the best patient care for everyone in a shared environment which caters to the needs of many.
  • Follow staff requests. From time to time staff may approach you and ask you to respond to a specific request in line with our Visiting Patients guideline. Please cooperate with these requests, they are not meant to offend, but to ensure we can deliver the best care to patients. Staff may ask you to leave the bedside for a short period to protect the privacy rights of other patients or to maintain safety and security.
  • No photos without permission. It is our intention to maintain patients’ rights to privacy at all times. Please be mindful when taking photos or video and do not take photos or videos of patients, visitors or staff without their permission.
  • No smoking or vaping on our grounds or in facilities.  Absolutely no smoking or vaping anywhere on our grounds. Find out more about getting help to quit smoking.
  • Too many visitors? The number of people welcomed at the bedside at any one time will be determined by staff in collaboration with the patient and family. Where patients are in shared rooms, staff may also discuss the matter with other patient/s and their key support people. To ensure wellbeing and safety, consideration will also be given to the physical limitations of the space. You may find it easier to nominate a key support person or spokesperson for your group as this could ease communication.
  • Feeling unwell? If you are feeling unwell, have an infection, have a runny nose, cold or flu-like illnesses or have or have been exposed to contagious illnesses, e.g. chicken pox or measles within the past three weeks, please do not come to the hospital or facility.
  • Hand hygiene. For the safety of our patients, we require visitors and key support people to clean their hands with soap and water or gel hand rub when entering and leaving the ward and patient’s room. In certain circumstances visitors and key support people may be asked to comply with other requirements in the interests of patient safety.
  • Children welcome if supervised. Children directly supervised by an adult who is not the patient or a member of staff are welcome. In a small number of environments it is not suitable for children to visit, due to the vulnerability of other patients and the presence of highly technical equipment. Staff will discuss this with you.
  • Sharing visitor areas. In common areas, e.g. shared rooms, waiting areas and visitor lounges, please be mindful of other visitors’ and families’ need for space. Waiting areas and visitor lounges are not designed for overnight stays.

We want to protect our patients’ and staff privacy, as well as their health. Please help us.

Please always ask for permission to take photos

Only take photographs if the patient, or their legal guardian, says you can. Please don’t take pictures, videos or make audio recordings of any of our staff, unless they have given you written permission. You may not take photos or videos of other patients and visitors. This includes general shots of wards, waiting rooms, corridors, cafe areas etc where other people are. 

Think before you upload

Do not post photos or information about your friend or loved one’s condition on social media unless they are happy for it to be seen by many people, including the media. It is not fair if other whānau/family members or friends find out via social media.

Thank you for helping us to care for your whānau/family and friends.

While vaping can help smokers to stop smoking and carries less risk than smoking cigarettes, it is not risk free.

The exact nature of the liquid products used in vaping is often unknown and is currently unregulated in New Zealand. You are putting your vapour into a space that is shared with other people.

Vaping products are intended for smokers only and the best thing smokers can do for their health is to quit smoking for good.

More information about this can be found on our No smoking or vaping for patients and visitors section.