Temporary changes to visiting, outpatient services and planned surgeries at Taranaki DHB

21 March 2020

In response to today’s announcement by the Prime Minister regarding COVID-19, Taranaki DHB chief operating officer Gillian Campbell has announced significant temporary changes to the DHB’s visitor policy.

“While we currently do not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our hospitals, in order to reduce the chances of COVID-19 or any other infection spreading to our vulnerable patients and our staff, a number of temporary changes are being introduced to our visitor policy – effective Sunday 22 March.

“We are limiting the number of people coming into Taranaki DHB facilities from tomorrow, Sunday 22 March 2020. These changes are being put in place to minimise the risk of visitors who are unwell spreading illness to patients and staff,” Gillian said.

Visiting hours will remain the same for services (as publicised on the Taranaki DHB website), but what is changing is the number of visitors coming in and the number of support people accompanying those attending appointments.

From tomorrow, Sunday 22 March 2020, the following changes will apply:

  • Emergency Department - one support person only to accompany people presenting to ED.
  • Outpatient appointments (including Oncology) - one support person per patient.
  • Neonatal Unit (NNU) and Ward 2B (children and young people’s ward) – parents only visiting.
  • Labour and Maternity wards - one named support person and one named significant other per woman.
  • All remaining inpatient wards and services – no more than one visitor per patient at any one time.
  • No children under 16 to come hospital visiting.
  • Exceptions: Clinical nurse managers can assess requests on a case-by-case basis. For example, exceptions will be considered on compassionate grounds for end-of-life care.
  • Visitors will not be allowed to visit any COVID-19 patients


“It’s vital that we reduce the numbers of people coming into our facilities to reduce the opportunity for any infections to spread. I would like to thank people in advance for their cooperation and playing their part to keep our patients and staff safe,” Gillian said.

We are currently reviewing outpatient clinics and planned surgeries to ensure we continue to manage urgent patients’ care. This means some routine patients will have appointments postponed and we will be focusing on those with the most urgent needs.

We are also addressing the impact of today’s announcement by the Prime Minister that people over 70 or those who are immunocompromised or have chronic respiratory conditions should self-isolate.

What will this mean for outpatient appointments/planned surgeries?

  • Taranaki DHB staff will be contacting people with any changes. If you do not hear from our staff please be reassured there is no change to your scheduled appointment.
  • Some consults will now be managed by phone, telehealth or community visits.
  • Unfortunately some appointments and surgeries may be postponed.
  • Some urgent outpatient visits and surgeries may also be brought forward.


For people with continued outpatient appointments, if you are self-isolating, are unwell or have potentially been exposed to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, please do not come in. Call the phone number on your appointment letter or email TDHBCovid.Enquiries@tdhb.org.nz.

Only people with symptoms should call Healthline’s COVID-19 line on 0800 358 5453.



Last updated: Monday, March 23, 2020

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