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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Overview of scans & X-rays

Tirohanga whānui ki ngā mātai me ngā whakaata roto

Scans and X-rays are imaging tests that use a type of radiation or magnetic field to take pictures of the inside of your body. Your health professional may request a scan or X-ray to help find the cause of your problem or to check your response to treatment. Most of these tests are done in a radiology department.

Costs and places

If the appointment comes from Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand, you will not have to pay for your scan or X-ray.

Discuss private referral options with your doctor if you have medical insurance or are able to pay. If your scan or X-ray relates to an accidental injury, ACC will usually pay, but you may need to pay a surcharge for some procedures. If you have medical insurance, your share of the cost may be covered by your policy.

If your appointment is arranged by Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand, your appointment letter will tell you where to go for the appointment. This could be at Christchurch Hospital, Burwood Hospital, Ashburton Hospital or with a private radiology provider.

For privately funded scans or X-rays, the private provider may offer you a range of locations to go for your test.

Getting an appointment

Your health professional will request your test and you should receive a letter or phone call telling you the time and place of your appointment. Your appointment letter may ask you to call to confirm your appointment by calling the number on the letter. Please do this, as you risk losing your appointment if you do not confirm by the date indicated in your letter.

If you do not receive an appointment, and your test was ordered by your general practice team, contact your general practice team. If your test was ordered by a hospital doctor, call Te Whatu Ora Waitaha Canterbury Radiology on (03) 364-0770 or Ashburton Hospital on (03) 307‑8457, depending on where it was going to be done. You can also contact them with any questions you have about your scan or X-ray.

If you cannot make it to your appointment, refer to your appointment letter and call the number provided. If you lose your appointment, contact your general practice team.

Allow plenty of time to find a car park. Your appointment information will include specific information about parking. Also see Radiology Parking.

Preparing for my scan or X-ray

The instructions for any special preparation for your scan or X-ray will be included with your appointment letter. If you have any questions about this, please call the number on your appointment letter.

If you have special needs such as mobility issues, hearing loss or need an interpreter, please call the number on the appointment letter and let staff know in advance.

It's important to let staff know when you arrive for your scan or X-ray if you're:

Getting the results

A specialist doctor (radiologist) will view the films or images and write a report about what the scan or X-ray shows. They will send their report to the health professional who asked for the test, who will then discuss the test results with you during a follow-up appointment, over the phone or by email or text message.

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Written by Radiology Department, Canterbury DHB. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed December 2022.


Page reference: 685357

Review key: HISXN-86976