Official opening of new Linac machine at CHCH Hospital today

Press Release – Canterbury DHB

Access to advanced cancer treatments continues to improve in Canterbury with the addition of a new Linear Accelerator at Christchurch Hospital that is expected to lift treatment capacity around 33 percent.November 7, 2011

Official opening of new Linac machine at CHCH Hospital today

Access to advanced cancer treatments continues to improve in Canterbury with the addition of a new Linear Accelerator at Christchurch Hospital that is expected to lift treatment capacity around 33 percent.

The Canterbury Health System has installed a $3 million Elekta Synergy Linear Accelerator (Linac) machine and Minister of Health, Tony Ryall will officially open it at Christchurch Hospital’s Oncology Department today(November 7, 2011).

A Linac is most commonly used for external beam radiation treatments to all parts/organs of the body for patients with cancer. . It delivers high-energy x-rays to the region of the patient’s tumor. These x-ray treatments can be directed in such a way that they destroy the cancer cells while sparing the surrounding normal tissue.

Three new Linacs have become operational in the past 18 months, at Christchurch Hospital.

Rob Hallinan, Canterbury Regional Cancer and Blood Service Clinical Manager Radiation Therapy, says all three machines have the best treatment delivery system and imaging capability currently available.

“Our adoption of this equipment into clinical practice has been recognised with international acclaim,” Mr Hallinan says.

“Each machine has the capacity to treat up to 800 patients a year. The machine’s technical capability also means it provides increased accuracy, allowing better tumour control and reduced side effects.”

The machine is fully compatible with the other Linacs, meaning patients can be transferred between them, reducing overall waiting times.

The new machine was required to help meet increasing demand for radiotherapy and to help achieve the Government’s four week waiting time target for Cancer treatment. “It has been a welcome addition after its installation was delayed for two weeks because of the February 22 earthquake.

“During the commissioning period of the machine since its arrival at the end of April, staff have been working exceptionally hard under extra-ordinary circumstances to ensure the government’s four-week health target for Shorter Waits for Cancer Treatments are met.”

Since its arrival the end of April, medical physicists and radiation therapists have also been provided advanced training and the department has recruited four new radiation therapists who have started work in the last two months with four more scheduled to start in January.

Media are welcome to attend the Linac opening.

When: Monday, November 7, 2011
Time: Noon – 12.30pm (formal opening followed by meet and greet)
Where: Oncology Department – Lower Ground Floor, Parkside West, Christchurch Hospital

ENDS

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