Arriving at hospital

​​You will either be visiting one of our hospitals for an outpatients or other appointment or will be admitted to hospital as an arranged admission or as an emergency admission.

Arranged admissions

This admission is arranged by your general practitioner and/or a specialist.
You will have been given an appointment time at the Arranged Admitting Office, along with a questionnaire for your anaesthetic if you are having surgery, and an admission form.

Please complete these forms before your appointment.

You can be admitted as:

  • Day surgery - you will be admitted, have your operation or procedure and still be able to go home on the same day. Should you require extra hospital time you can be admitted to an overnight ward.

  • Day of Surgery Admission (DOSA) – this means that you will have your operation on the same day you come to hospital, but may stay for a day or more as required after the operation.

  • General admission – this means you will come in to hospital a day or so prior to having your operation, and stay after surgery as long as necessary for your recovery.


Emergencies may sometimes require us to postpone your booking at short notice. It may be necessary to postpone your surgery even after you have been admitted. Our staff will do everything possible to avoid postponing any treatment. However, if this occurs and the surgery is absolutely essential, you will be re-booked into the next available time.

Pre-admission clinic

In order to prepare you for your surgery, your specialist may require you to attend a pre-admission clinic at the hospital. The reason for this clinic is to give you an up to date medical check to assist in your operative and post-operative care. It is important that you bring any medications you are currently taking to this pre-admission clinic.

During the pre-admission check you may be seen by the anaesthetist (the person responsible for putting you to sleep for your operation), the registrar (the specialist's assistant) and some­times your Specialist. As part of the pre-admission check it may also be necessary for you to visit other parts of the hospital for further tests. These tests are carried out to ensure you are at an optimum level of well-being for your surgery and all your needs can be met.
These tests may include:

  • Blood tests

  • Chest x-ray

  • Urine tests

  • ECG (tracing of the heart)

Emergency admission (Christchurch Hospital only)

If you have been referred by your general practitioner, transported by St John ambulance or arrive in an emergency, you will enter Christchurch Hospital through the Emergency Department.

The Emergency Department is for acute admissions and emergencies only and not for long standing or minor injuries or illnesses which can be treated by your family general practice team or after hours clinic. You can phone your general practice team at any time and you will talk to a professional nurse.

When you arrive in the Emergency Department

On arrival you will be seen by the triage nurse who is a senior registered nurse and will determine the seriousness of your condi­tion and the urgency with which you must be seen by the doctor.

Sometimes you will have to wait to be seen as there may be more critically ill or injured people who must tak​e priority. If the waiting time is longer than you expect, please be reassured that the nurses will continue to observe your condition to ensure you are safe and answer any questions until you can be seen.

The staff in the Emergency Department work closely with other professionals throughout the hospital to ensure you receive appropri­ate care. If you need to be admitted, you may be transferred to an observation bed in the Emergency Observations Area or to a ward.

More information

What to expect during your stay

For more information about what to expect during your stay in hospital see Your stay

Children staying in hospital

You can find specific information about children staying at hospital on our Child Health pages Preparing for a stay in hospital and What to expect when you arrive at hospital (see our videos)

Arriving at hospital
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Smokefree-Logo-colour.jpg All Canterbury District Health Board
facilities are smokefree.

Smoking cessation advice is available from a number of trained staff in many areas, and who are able to assist you to become smoke free.​

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Page last reviewed: 24 October 2017