Palmerston North Hospital's new cancer treatment machine which replaced an older model, will significantly improve the capacity for treating cancer patients.
The state-of-the-art LINAC was installed in February when a section of the bunker roof was removed and the machine was craned in through the top of the building.
Commissioning of the LINAC was completed at the end of May when it started operating clinically.
It is the first of two replacements at Palmerston North Hospital and the funding for the new machines comes from the $25 million announced by the Government last year, which was allocated for the replacement of 12 LINACs throughout the country.
MidCentral DHB cancer screening, treatment and support clinical executive Dr Claire Hardie said the new LINAC meant the service was now on par with anywhere else in the world using the most modern techniques possible.
"This new machine, the first replacement of our current Siemens fleet of LINACs, enables us to deliver more efficient radiation treatment to the people of the MidCentral District, as well as the regional patients we serve from Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, Whanganui and Wairarapa.
"Instead of treating 20 to 25 patients a day on a single LINAC, on this new machine we can now treat up to 35.
"We know our patients will now be getting quicker, more efficient treatment."
Palmerrston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway visited Palmerston North Hospital for the opening and said this replacement was part of the first tranche of work under the New Zealand Cancer Action Plan 2019-2029, which was launched last year.
"These new LINACs are to replace old, out-of-date machines, and will deliver cutting-edge radiation treatment for many people with cancer around New Zealand.
"We know that radiation therapy is one of the most effective tools to treat cancer, and that it can dramatically improve outcomes.
"It is an important step towards our goal of safe, effective, and sustainable radiation oncology services.
"Your new LINAC will be faster and more accurate, with fewer side effects, and will help more people in less time.
"This will significantly improve health outcomes for people living with cancer in the central North Island."
The bunker that houses the new LINAC was gifted the name "Rehua" from Pae Ora Paiaka Whaiora Māori.
"Rehua is named after the Red Star in the Scorpius Constellation, who is the overseer of healing," Dr Hardie said.
"We know that within the month we've been using this machine, this healing has already been felt and the name and its meaning has resonated with some patients during their treatment."