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Imaging (Radiology)

Our services A-Z

Imaging (Radiology) provides a diagnostic, interventional and therapeutic service to the local population and a specialist service for the region. Imaging is core in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of diseases.

Our services

Imaging services includes the following areas and facilities:

  • X-ray – uses x-rays to produce images of the skeleton, chest and abdomen.
  • Cambridge Breast Unit – breast mammography is provided by our Breast Screening service.
  • Computed tomography (CT) department -uses x-rays and a computer to create detailed cross-sectional views (slices) of various parts of the body such as bones, soft tissues and the brain. This allows disease to be identified.
  • DEXA Bone Density (DXA) is a scan which uses low dose x-rays to measure bone density (or strength of bones). A DXA scan is often used to diagnose osteoporosis (a health condition that weakens bones and makes them more likely to break). DXA scans can also be used to track the effects of treatment for osteoporosis and other conditions that cause bone loss.
  • Fluoroscopy suite where x-ray and contrast media (dye) are used to provide ‘live’ images of internal organs in the body whilst they are in motion, similar to a movie.
  • Interventional Radiology
  • MRI department - Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a type of scan that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed pictures of the inside of the body.
  • Nuclear medicine Department – where a safe and painless technique using small amounts of radioactive substances which can be administered to examine how the body and organs function, for example kidneys and heart. It is used to investigate and diagnose a wide range of conditions.
  • PET-CT – (Position Emission Tomography and Computerised Tomography) is a scanning method that allows us to see how organs are working. PET-CT helps us to identify organs or tissues that are not working normally.
  • Radiology Day Unit
  • Radiopharmacy - the Radiopharmacy provides comprehensive radiopharmaceutical services.
  • Ultrasound Department An ultrasound scan is a procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to create an image of part of the inside of the body. Ultrasound scans are used to can detect problems in organs eg the liver, heart, kidney, or abdomen. They may also assist in performing certain types of biopsy.
  • Vascular Access Unit (VAU) - a nurse-led service which provides a holistic approach to the insertion and maintenance of all aspects of central venous access devices.

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Where to find us

As our Imaging departments can be found in a variety of places both on the Cambridge University Hospital (CUH) site and off, please refer to your appointment letter or follow the link to the relevant Modality above (eg MRI or CT).

Please click here to see how you can find your way around the site.

Resources

Patient information

To access imaging (radiology) patient information leaflets, please see the CUH Patient information A-Z.

MyChart

Appointment reminder can be sent via patients MyChart. You are also able to get your results of your scan / x-ray via MyChart. However there is a delay of 3 weeks from when the report is complete to when it becomes available on MyChart. This is to allow time for the clinicians to check reports before they are communicated with the patient, in case they have any queries and require further clarification.

Patient feedback

We frequently invite patients to complete an online survey to find out what you think about the treatment and care you have received whilst in our department. This is because your feedback is important in helping us to improve Imaging services. Click here to find out more about how the Trust is acting on feedback or to provide feedback following your visit.

Who's who in Imaging

Our imaging staff can be recognised by their name badge and uniform, the handy chart below should help you out when at our hospitals.

A chart showing which uniforms are worn by our staff.
Radiologists

Your radiologist is a doctor who is specially trained to interpret diagnostic images such as X-rays, MRI and CT scans, to help guide the management of disease. If you have an interventional procedure (such as a tumour ablation or a biopsy) a specially trained radiologist, called an Interventional Radiologist, will perform the procedure. Some ultrasound scans are also performed by a radiologist. Radiologists provide a written report of your examination or procedure which is sent electronically to the referring clinician.

Physicists

The medical physicists’ role is to provide advice on radiation safety for patients and colleagues, and to make sure that all the equipment that detects radiation is working properly. They also administer therapies with radioactive materials.

Radiographers / sonographers

Your radiographer has been trained to take your X-ray, CT or MRI scan. Reporting radiographers have undertaken further training so that they can interpret diagnostic images such as X-rays and some CT scans and provide a written report. If a radiographer has been trained to perform and interpret ultrasound, they may be called a sonographer. If you have an interventional procedure (such as an angiogram or biopsy) a radiographer will be part of the team looking after you.

Radiographers complete a 3 year degree in diagnostic imaging. All radiographers must be registered with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) before they are allowed to work in the UK.

Across the whole of Imaging Services at CUH we have a team of about 200 radiographers. A Modality Lead is in charge of each of the main clinical areas e.g. CT, MRI, general X-ray, Ultrasound and Interventional Radiology.

Nuclear medicine technologists

These are healthcare professionals who specialise in nuclear medicine and PET-CT. They can either have a degree in Nuclear Medicine and be registered with the Register of Clinical Technologists (RCT) or alternatively they can be Radiographers who have chosen to specialise in Nuclear Medicine and PET-CT, these staff will have a degree in Diagnostic Imaging and are registered with the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Radiology nurse

The role of our radiology nurses is to support the team during interventional procedures and to care for the patients in recovery afterwards. Nurses complete a three year degree and must be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) before they are allowed to work in the UK.

Our nursing team in Radiology is led by the Imaging Matron.

Assisting practitioners

Our Assistant Practitioners are to be found working in either X-ray or Breast Screening. Their main role is to perform imaging examinations, following a defined protocol, working under the supervision of a Radiographer. A number of the Assistant Practitioners are completing an apprenticeship to become a Radiographer.

Health Care Assistants (HCA), Clinical Support Workers (CSW) and Radiology Department Assistants (RDA)

The HCAs, CSWs and RDAs support radiologists, radiographers and nurses to help and care for patients. They will help prepare patients for examination, insert cannulas where required and act as chaperones.

Healthcare play specialist

Our team is lucky enough to include a Healthcare Play Specialist who supports children and young people (between 3 - 16 years of age) achieve successful scan procedures both awake and with oral sedation. The Healthcare Play Specialist completed a two-year Foundation Degree in Healthcare Play Specialism and has over ten years’ experience in this specialised field.

Therapeutic play is used to inform children and young people about the scan process. It uses preparation and distraction techniques to help achieve successful scan procedures. Where extra assistance is required, support plans and assessments can be used to help reduce anxiety. This results in a more positive hospital experience for the children and their parents, guardians or carers.

Administrative and clerical team

A member of this team will greet you when you arrive at one of our receptions. They will check that we have all your details and that they are correct before booking you in. Our team includes secretaries, booking staff who will book appointments and answer queries, supervisors and managers.

PACS team / PACS manager

The PACS team are an essential part of the Imaging Directorate, enabling access to digital images. The Patient Archiving and Communication System (PACS) allows images to be stored, retrieved and transferred.

Key Staff