New state of the art CT scanner for Lakes


State of the art CT scanner will be much faster, allowing more patients to be scanned, and produce high quality images.

From left: Manawa Pou Koro Tini (who blessed the CT scanner), Sarah Faint, Kathy Colgan, Mark Barnes, Joe Monkhouse

Rotorua Hospital now has a new state of the art CT scanner that will be much faster, allowing more patients to be scanned, and produce consistently very high-quality images.

Radiologist and Head of Radiology Department Mark Barnes says CT scanners are the cornerstone of modern diagnostic imaging. A CT scan is used to diagnose disease or injury as well as to plan medical, surgical or radiation treatment, he says.

“This scanner is one of the best available at the moment. We have taken care to select the scanner which best provides for the needs of our local population.”

“It will allow better images of complex areas such as the heart.  To do a good scan of the heart the scanner needs to spin so quickly that it captures the heart between beats. This scanner does one rotation in .23 of a second compared with .4 seconds for the old scanner.”

Planning for the new scanner began in November 2022. This has included the refurbishment of the CT room, which has included the installation of a new air conditioning system. 

“A machine like this emits a huge amount of heat that has to be removed and it has delicate electronic components that have to be protected from the sulphur or it attacks the circuit boards,” Dr Barnes says.

CT Team Lead Sarah Faint has a team of about 10 MITs (Medical Imaging Technologists) who specialise in using the CT scanner. The team has been trained to use the new machine to get the best out of it.

The near two-million-dollar machine emits less radiation to the patient and has a larger diameter meaning a more comfortable scanning experience for all patients, she says.

“It’s a very exciting time for the service. It’s great to have a new CT scanner with improved software, which is faster and more efficient.”

Service Manager Clinical Support Services and Director of Allied Health, Scientific and Technical, Joe Monkhouse, says organising installation of the new CT scanner while maintaining the care required for patients is a big job.

“Installing a new CT scanner is a lot more complex than people might think. It has taken months of careful planning and preparation by the Radiology team. Without their attention to detail and contingency planning we wouldn’t have had such a smooth transition. Sarah, Kathy Colgan [Radiology Manager] and Mark have been brilliant in getting everyone organised.”

In February 2024, the old scanner wasmoved to a different x-ray room, where it continued to operate, to make way for the upgrade of the CT scanner room. It is about nine years old and will now be decommissioned.