Bay of Plenty DHB Updates Visitor Policy

The Bay of Plenty District Health Board recognises the important role of visitors in the healing process. With this in mind, we have updated our visitor policy under COVID-19 Alert Level 3, while continuing to protect patients and staff from any potential risk of exposure.
Hospital facilities at Tauranga and Whakatāne have moved from ‘no visitors’ to a restricted visitor’s policy, effective immediately. However, this policy may change as we continue to monitor the risks to hospital workers and the public.
Visitor access is now as follows:

  • Visitors to be approved on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Clinical Nurse Manager/Clinical Midwife Manager or Duty Nurse Manager. This could be for compassionate grounds or for patients who are palliative and receiving end of life care.
  • An approved visitor can only enter and leave once daily.
  • One parent or guardian is able to accompany any hospitalised child age 16 or under in either the Children’s Unit or Emergency Department.
  • One nominated support person can accompany a woman in labour and birth. The nominated support person may visit once daily and stay as long as the woman wants. No overnight stays will be permitted unless the woman is in labour and for early post-natal support.
  • Mothers only, are permitted to the Special Care Baby Unit.
  • Should a patient be confirmed with COVID-19, or suspicious or probable for COVID-19, then no visitors are allowed.
  • In all cases where a visitor is allowed access to any BOPDHB facility, appropriate screening will take place before they are allowed to enter the facility to ensure they are well.
  • Visiting hours will be from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.

BOPDHB Incident Management Team, Incident Controller Bronwyn Anstis says the changes acknowledge the importance of visitors when family, whānau and friends are in hospital.
“We appreciate it has been a difficult time during Alert Level 4 and we are very grateful to the public for their understanding, and helping us to ensure that priority is given to the needs and care of the patients, the safety and security of staff.
We also need to ensure that contact tracing can be facilitated should any patient, visitor or employee subsequently be diagnosed with COVID-19.”
Ms Anstis says the BOPDHB has considered a number of factors in developing its policy for Alert Level 3. These include the number of patients currently in hospital and how physical distancing will be managed.
“Our policy may differ from those of other DHBs because we all have different circumstances and different factors to weigh up. We are confident that these visitor measures will allow us to keep patients and staff safe under Alert Level 3.”
In this period of a Restricted Visitor’s policy, Māori Health Gains and Development are available to provide guidance and support to Māori whānau who want to understand how to provide manaakitanga to their loved ones in the hospitals.
People wanting to discuss this change in policy can call the Patient Information Centre 0800 333 477 or email
Whānau can ask to be referred to Māori Health Gains and Development through the Patient Information Centre.