13 Sep 2021

Auckland DHB restricts visits to compassionate grounds only

5:11 pm on 13 September 2021

Auckland District Health Board will only be allowing patient visits on compassionate grounds, after a nurses union launched legal action challenging it's policy around visitors.

Auckland City Hospital

Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

From 7am on Tuesday morning, visits to Auckland Hospital will be restricted to compassionate grounds.

This follows the New Zealand Nurses Organisation taking legal action against the health board to tighten up its visitor policy to match Counties Manukau and Waitematā DHBs.

Previously, Auckland Hospital patients were allowed to nominate two visitors, one of whom could visit on any one day.

All visitors were screened for Covid-19 symptoms.

Auckland DHB provider services director Dr Mike Shepherd said the change was prompted after visitors had not followed the rules.

"There's an ongoing concern around the amount of Covid in the community and the exposure events happening in hospitals," he said.

The decision comes after New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) launched legal action against Auckland DHB last week, urging the visitor access to be restricted to only absolutely necessary on compassionate grounds.

NZNO industrial adviser David Wait said the union's members were concerned about visitors not following social distancing or mask use rules.

The NZNO and the DHB were due to meet for mediation this afternoon.

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