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Lakes DHB Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT)

Public Service, ENT/ Head & Neck Surgery


We are a small specialist team performing acute and elective Ear, Nose and Throat surgeries.

Day Stay Unit

Day Stay Unit is our point of entry for elective surgical patients.  The Unit has 10 beds and 10 La-Z-Boy chairs and is currently open from 7.00am - 5.30pm.  As patients arrive they are assessed and prepared for their surgery.

Surgical Unit

The Surgical Unit cares for acute and elective surgical patients requiring general surgery procedures/care as well as acute urology, gynaecology, ophthalmology and ENT patients who may require at least one overnight stay.

Most patients in the Unit undergo surgery, but some are managed conservatively.  There are 25 beds in the Surgical Unit.  The Unit is located on the 1st floor of the Whakaue Rauoranga Building.

Where to find us: see the Rotorua Hospital map here.

The ENT team are based at Rotorua Hospital but provide visiting services to Taupō Hospital.

What is ENT?

Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery (ENT) is also known as Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery.  This area of medicine is concerned with disorders of the ear, nose, throat, the head and the neck.

ENT Surgeons (or otolaryngologists) are specialist doctors who deal with medical and surgical treatment of conditions of the ears, nose, throat and structures of the head and neck.


Referral Expectations

If you have an urgent problem requiring immediate surgical assessment you are referred acutely to the ORL Department where you will initially be seen by the specialist who will decide whether you need to be admitted to hospital.  Investigations will be performed as required.

If the problem is not urgent, the GP will write a letter to the ORL Department requesting an appointment in the outpatient clinic.  One of the consultant surgeons working in the Department reviews the referral letters to determine who should be seen first, based on the information provided by the GP.  Very urgent cases are usually seen within a couple of weeks, but other cases may have to wait a much longer time.  

When you come to the ORL Outpatient Department you will be seen by a member of the ORL team who will ask questions about your illness and examine you to try to determine or confirm the diagnosis.  This process may also require a number of tests (e.g., blood tests, x-rays, scans, etc).  Sometimes this can all be done during one clinic visit, but for some conditions this will take several follow-up appointments.  Occasionally some tests are arranged even before you are seen at the hospital to try to speed up the process.

Once a diagnosis has been made, the medical staff will discuss the treatment with you.  In some instances this will mean surgery, while other cases can be managed with medication and advice.  If surgery is advised you will be put on the elective surgical waiting list.  Again these waiting lists are ordered according to the urgency and severity of the condition.  The steps involved in the surgical process and the likely outcome are usually discussed with you at this time.

In order to minimise the amount of time that you have to spend in hospital, many surgical departments run a preadmission process.  This is usually done through a clinic where you are seen prior to hospital admission.  The aim of this clinic is to confirm that you still need to have the planned surgery and that you are currently fit and well enough to undergo the operation. 


New Zealand citizens or those who have obtained permanent residence are entitled to publicly funded health care.

Non-residents may be required to pay for their health care.

Click here to read more about eligibility for funded care at Lakes DHB.

Procedures / Treatments

  • Otology (Ear) Tests

    Audiometry is the electronic testing of hearing ability.  You will sit in a special room wearing earphones and be asked to respond when you hear a noise through the earphones.  These tests can measure your hearing levels as well as other aspects of hearing such as the ability to recognise… More

  • Otitis Media

    This is inflammation or infection of your middle ear (the space behind your eardrum) and is often associated with a build-up of fluid in your middle ear.… More

  • Otosclerosis

    When the growth of one of the tiny bones in your middle ear, the stapes, changes from hard to soft and spongy, it leads to the condition called otosclerosis.… More

  • Hearing Loss

    Hearing loss can be divided into two types: conductive hearing loss (caused by some sort of mechanical problem in the external or middle ear) or sensorineural hearing loss (caused by disorders of the inner ear, hearing nerve or associated brain structures).… More

  • Acoustic Neuroma

    This is a rare, slow-growing, benign (non-cancerous) overgrowth of tissue on the nerves that affects your hearing and balance.… More

  • Meniere's Disease

    Meniere's disease is a disorder in which there is an abnormality in the fluids of the inner ear resulting in increased pressure in the inner ear.… More

  • Sinusitis

    In the facial bones surrounding your nose, there are four pairs of hollow air spaces known as sinuses or sinus cavities.… More

  • Snoring

    Snoring is the harsh rattling noise made by some people when they sleep.… More

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)

    When snoring is interrupted by episodes of totally obstructed breathing, it is known as obstructive sleep apnoea.… More

  • Rhinitis

    Rhinitis is the inflammation of the lining of the nose (nasal mucosa).… More

  • Tonsillitis

    Your tonsils are the oval-shaped lumps of tissue that lie on both sides of the back of the throat.… More

  • Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia)

    If you find it difficult to pass food or liquid from your mouth to your stomach, you may have a swallowing disorder or dysphagia.… More

  • Hoarseness

    Hoarseness can be described as abnormal voice changes that make your voice sound raspy and strained and higher or lower or louder or quieter than normal.… More


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Contact Details

This page was last updated at 4:13PM on December 16, 2021. This information is reviewed and edited by Lakes DHB Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT).