Back to top anchor

Brought to you by Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora – Southern and WellSouth primary health network

Open main menu Close main menu

What to expect while you are in hospital

Hospital and nursing care is always changing with new practices and technology. Here are some of the things you can expect during your hospital stay.

 → Accommodation / Te Whare Whānau

Information pamphlets are found at the Enquiries Desk, Dunedin Hospital and on the wards at Wakari Hospital. Hospital social workers are available to assist. See specific hospitals for further information.

→ Advocacy

The Health and Disability Advocacy service is a free and confidential service available to all consumers. This service is independent of Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora. Advocates are there to assist consumers to ensure their rights are respected. If you have a concern about the care you are receiving contact: 0800 555 050 or E-mail:

→ Consent

All treatment and procedures will be explained to you by members of staff. It is very important you understand what is happening. Please ask questions if you are uncertain.

→ Emergencies

In the event of an emergency all patients are requested to follow the direction given by Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora - Southern staff.

→ Enquiries

Telephone calls to ward or clinical areas are limited to emergency or urgent matters for immediate family members. We encourage one nominated family member or friend to provide updates to your family (whānau) to help keep them informed of your progress.

If you do not wish information to be given out please let the staff know.

→ Hand Hygiene

It is important that health care staff who touch you have washed their hands before doing so. You can ask them to do so.

→ Hard of Hearing / Visual Impairment

If you require these services or additional assistance please ask the staff member caring for you. A sign language interpreter is available.

→ Hospital Hosts and Staff Volunteers

St John Ambulance Service hospital hosts and volunteers are here to assist patients and visitors in the Emergency and Oncology Departments, and the foyer of Dunedin Hospital and in the Emergency Department of Southland Hospital.

→ Interpreter Service

There is a 24-hour interpreter service for most languages. See the Interpreter Poster on the premises or ask a staff member.

→ Patient Rights

We want to ensure that all your rights are met.
Every person who uses health and disability services has rights and Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora Southern staff have duties. These rights and duties are clearly set out in the Code of Health and Disability Services - Consumer Rights.
In summary, your rights under this code are:

  • Right to be treated with respect
  • Right to freedom from discrimination, coercion, harassment, and exploitation
  • Right to dignity and independence
  • Right to services of an appropriate standard
  • Right to effective communication
  • Right to be fully informed
  • Right to make an informed choice and give informed consent
  • Right to support
  • Rights in respect of teaching or research
  • Right to complain

Pamphlets explaining your rights when using our services are available in all wards and departments.

→ Personal Electrical/ Electronic Equipment

Cell phones are not permitted where medical equipment is being used. Refer to each ward regarding personal electrical / electronic equipment.

→ Photographs / Video Recordings

Photographs / video recordings can be taken only after consultation with the clinical staff and express permission is given from the patient.

→ Privacy & your Health Information
Collection of Health Information

Health information is collected to provide you with appropriate care and treatment. We also need it to: keep you and others safe, for quality improvement and administrative purposes, to plan for and fund health services, to carry out teaching and research, and for statistical purposes. Usually it will be collected directly from you, but if this is not possible/practical it may be collected from another person and then checked with you as soon as possible. It is important that the information we hold about you is accurate and up to date in order to provide a safe standard of care during your stay in hospital. You may choose to provide additional information which may help in providing context to your current hospitalisation.

Security of your information

Your information will be stored securely. Only authorised staff will be able to access your information. It is normal practice to give necessary and relevant information about you to your GP and/or referring practitioner. Other health professionals and relevant community agencies may be provided with information in order to deliver appropriate health services. If you do not wish this to happen, please make staff aware. In most cases we would require your consent before we would release information about you to somebody else. In certain situations however, we are compelled by law to release information (Police search warrant, or children at risk).

Access to Your Information

You can request access to your information and may request correction of it if necessary.

Who to Contact about a Privacy Issue

If you have a concern relating to a privacy issue, please contact the Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora National Privacy Team via email at

If you feel the issue has not been addressed to your satisfaction following that conversation, we encourage you to contact the Privacy Commission on their number 0800 803 909 or through their web site:


→ Property & Valuable

Do not bring items of value or large sums of money into hospital.

→ Resuscitation

When someone in the hospital suddenly becomes unresponsive, and the staff cannot find a pulse or detect breathing, we call it a cardiac arrest. Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is the attempt made by the hospital staff to restore pulse and breathing. Some patients may not want these attempts to be made for them. If you do not want to be resuscitated, or wish to discuss this further, please tell a member of the staff caring for you. We can document your wishes and initiate a ‘Not for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Order’ if you wish.


→ Smoking, Alcohol & Drugs

All Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora - Southern premises are smokefree, alcohol-free and drug-free for all staff and visitors. If you are a smoker, your stay in hospital is an opportunity for you to quit. Smokefree Support can offer advice and support during your stay and in some cases may be able to provide you with nicotine replacement therapy – please ask your nurse for more information. Smokefree Support is also available following your discharge to support you in becoming smokefree. Quitline: 0800 778 778.


→ Students

Dunedin, Wakari, Southland and Lakes District Hospitals are teaching hospitals. Patients can consent to take part in teaching procedures.