Canterbury’s newest Linear Accelerator was officially opened in Christchurch
The Canterbury District Health Board has installed a $3 million Elekta
Synergy Linear Accelerator (Linac) machine, which is expected to lift cancer
treatment capacity by around 33 percent.
Minister of Health, Tony Ryall officially opened the Linac at a special
ceremony held at Christchurch Hospital’s Oncology Department.
Bruce Matheson, Canterbury District Health Board chairman, said the
installation and commissioning of a new linear accelerator requires a lot of
work and planning in addition to business as usual.
“We all know that this year has been anything but usual for the people of
Canterbury and staff have done an amazing job in managing the extra work during
a period of great uncertainty in their personal lives as well as adapting to the
changes and significant disruptions that the earthquakes have brought about,” Mr
Iain Ward, Clinical Director Oncology Services, said treating cancers
requires a dedicated team, where the skills of a range of clinicians and other
staff come together.
Minister of Health Tony Ryall said he wanted to make the trip to Christchurch
especially so he could acknowledge the team personally for their tremendous
“Thank you to each and every one of you for the contribution you’ve
A Linac is most commonly used for external beam radiation
treatments to any part/organ of the body for patients with cancer.
It delivers high-energy x-rays to the region
of the patient's tumour. These x-ray treatments can be directed in such a way
that they destroy the cancer cells while sparing the surrounding normal
Three new Linacs have become operational in the past 18 months, at
All three machines have the best treatment delivery system and imaging
capability currently available.
Each machine has the capacity to treat up to 800 patients a year and can
provide increased accuracy, allowing better tumour control and reduced side
It is fully compatible with the other Elekta Linacs, meaning patients can be
transferred between them, reducing overall waiting times.
Since its arrival at 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.
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