If you are on our waiting list for an operation or procedure; learn about what we are doing to reduce our waiting list and some guidance around how to prepare for your surgery while you wait.

Radiology is used to diagnose and treat a number of medical conditions such as:

  • cancer
  • heart problems e.g. heart disease
  • herniated disc
  • lung problems e.g. pneumonia
  • multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • soft tissue injuries
  • scoliosis
  • stroke
  • tooth problems e.g. dental abscess
  • traumatic injuries

If you’re referred to us you’ll be seen by one of our specialists. This could be a:

  • radiographer
  • radiologist
  • radiology nurse
  • sonographer

A radiographer is a person who has been trained to take X-rays or perform CT or MRI scans. If you’re having an interventional procedure e.g. a biopsy or angiogram, a radiographer will be part of the team looking after you.

A radiologist is a doctor who is specially trained to interpret diagnostic images such as X-rays, CT scans and MRI scans. If you’re having an interventional procedure, a radiologist will perform the procedure.

Radiologists also perform ultrasound scans. The radiologist provides a written report of the results of your examination which will be sent to the doctor or healthcare professional looking after you.

The role of the radiology nurse is to assist the team during interventional procedures and care for the patients during and after these procedures

A sonographer specialises in the use of ultrasonic imaging to produce diagnostic images.

What happens during an X-ray?

You'll usually be asked to lie on a table or stand against a flat surface so that the part of your body being examined can be positioned in the right place.

The X-ray machine, will be carefully aimed at the part of the body being examined. We’ll operate the machine from behind a screen or from the next room.

The X-ray will last for a fraction of a second. You won't feel anything while it's carried out.

While the X-ray is being taken, you'll need to keep still so the image produced isn't blurred.

More than one X-ray may be taken from different angles to provide as much information as possible. The procedure will usually only take a few minutes.

You may get your results on the same day, or we may send a report to your GP or doctor who requested the X-ray, who can discuss the results with you a few days later.

What happens during an ultrasound?

Most ultrasound scans last between 15 and 45 minutes. There are different kinds of ultrasound scans, depending on which part of the body is being scanned and why.

The 3 main types are:

  • external ultrasound scan – the probe is moved over the skin
  • internal ultrasound scan – the probe is inserted into the body
  • endoscopic ultrasound scan – the probe is attached to a long, thin, flexible tube (an endoscope) and passed further into the body

You may be told the results of your scan soon after it's been carried out, but in most cases the images will need to be analysed and a report will be sent to the doctor who referred you for the scan.

They'll discuss the results with you a few days later or at your next appointment, if one's been arranged.

What happens during a CT scan?

You'll usually lie on your back on a flat bed that passes into the CT scanner. The scanner consists of a ring that rotates around a small section of your body as you pass through it.

Unlike an MRI scan, the scanner doesn't surround your whole body at once, so you shouldn't feel claustrophobic.

We’ll operate the scanner from the next room. While the scan is taking place, you'll be able to hear and speak to us through an intercom.

While each scan is taken, you'll need to lie very still and breathe normally. This ensures that the scan images aren't blurred.

You may be asked to breathe in, breathe out, or hold your breath at certain points.

The scan will usually take around 10 to 20 minutes.

Your scan results won't usually be available immediately. A computer will need to process the information from your scan, which we’ll then analyse.

After analysing the images, we’ll write a report and send it to the doctor who referred you for the scan so they can discuss the results with you. This normally takes a few days or weeks.

What happens during an MRI scan?

You’ll lie on a flat bed that's moved into the scanner. Depending on the part of your body being scanned, you'll be moved into the scanner either head first or feet first.

We control the scanner using a computer, which is in a different room, to keep it away from the magnetic field generated by the scanner. You'll be able to talk to us through an intercom and we'll be able to see you on a television monitor throughout the scan.

At certain times during the scan, the scanner will make loud tapping noises. This is the electric current in the scanner coils being turned on and off. You'll be given earplugs or headphones to wear.

It's very important to keep as still as possible during your MRI scan. The scan lasts 15 to 90 minutes, depending on the size of the area being scanned and how many images are taken.

We’ll study your MRI scan and may discuss it with other specialists. This means it's unlikely you'll get the results of your scan immediately.

We’ll send a report to the doctor who arranged the scan, who will discuss the results with you. It usually takes a week or two for the results of an MRI scan to come through, unless they're needed urgently.

Cumberland Infirmary
General enquiries
01228 814349 or 814575

Ultrasound appointment enquiries
01228 814528 or 814130

CT or MRI scan enquiries
01228 814682

West Cumberland Hospital
General enquiries
01946 523350

Appointment enquiries
​​​​​​​01946 523358