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HealthInfo Canterbury

Overview of scans and X-rays (radiology)

Scans and X-rays are imaging tests that use a type of radiation to take pictures of the inside of your body. Your doctor 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

Some scans and X-rays are free while some you will have to pay for yourself. Discuss this with the doctor who is requesting the test.

If the appointment comes from the Canterbury DHB, you won't 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 for some procedures you may need to pay a small surcharge. If you have medical insurance, your share of the cost may be covered by your policy.

If your appointment is arranged by the Canterbury DHB, your appointment letter will tell you where to go for the appointment. This could be at Christchurch Hospital, Burwood Hospital, Ashburton Hospital or Pacific Radiology.

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

Getting an appointment

Your doctor 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 don't confirm by the date indicated in your letter.

If you don't receive an appointment, and your test was ordered by your GP, contact your GP. If your test was ordered by a hospital doctor, call Canterbury DHB 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 can't make your appointment, refer to your appointment letter and call the number provided. If you lose your appointment, contact your GP practice.

Please allow plenty of time to find a park. Your appointment letter 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 are:

Getting the results

When you are referred for an X-ray or scan, you should ask the doctor referring you how you will receive the results of the test. The doctor who referred you will get a copy of the results. Your GP will also get a copy, even if you were referred by a specialist.

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Written by Radiology Department, Canterbury DHB. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed February 2020.


Page reference: 685357

Review key: HISXN-86976