X-ray (General radiography)

General x-rays are carried out on all of the Trust sites at Doncaster, Bassetlaw, Mexborough and Retford.  By general x-rays we mean x-rays of bones, chests and abdomens.  There are some  x-ray examinations  where a contrast agent ('dye')  is used.  These  x-rays always need an appointment and full instructions and an explanation will be sent or given to you with your appointment letter.

Radiation which is used to produce x-rays does carry risks.  These risks are minimised by strict guidelines enforced by legislation and the Trust adheres to them all.

Are x-rays safe?

Patients often worry when they have several x-rays in a short space of time.  Radiation similar to that used by us is around all of us especially from space ('background radiation'), and we often use the comparison that if you have a chest, wrist or ankle  x-ray the radiation dose is equivalent to a 4 hour flight to Majorca. 

Why does the radiographer stand behind a screen?

Patients often wonder why the Radiographers step behind a shield every time they take an x-ray.  The dose from each x-ray is small but over time each small dose adds up and that is why the other staff in the room step behind the shield.

Can I have an x-ray if I am pregnant?

We always check that there is no possibility that patients are pregnant before we x-ray them.  Not all examinations require this checking but if you do think you might be pregnant please inform the staff when you attend.  If you are pregnant and your doctors still feels an  x-ray is necessary we will protect your baby by covering your abdomen with a flexible lead shield. 

Why is my name and date of birth checked so many times?

Patients are asked to confirm their identity by name and date of birth several times during their visits, this ensures that  all the paperwork and films are matched together.

General Information

For general x-rays that require no preparation (e.g. chests, spines, legs, arms and hips) it is possible to come to any of our departments at your convenience between the following times;

  • Doncaster and Bassetlaw - 9am - 8pm Monday to Sunday.
  • Mexborough 9am - 8pm Monday to Friday only.
  • Retford - 9am - 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 4.45pm Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

X-rays where patients have to be prepared by special diets or taking laxatives are always by an appointment system, and there are waiting lists for these:-

Barium X-Rays

Bariumstudies are taken using 'fluoroscopy' which means we still use radiation but the images are viewed on a television monitor during the examination.  Barium is a thick chalky liquid which is completely harmless.  It is used to image your stomach and bowel.  You will receive full instructions with your appointment. 

Kidney X-Rays

In this type of x-ray we will inject a contrast agent' or 'dye' into a vein in your arm.  This dye will be filtered by your kidneys and the body will disperse it when you pass urine.  It is colourless and you will not see it when you pass it.  Whilst it is in your kidneys and bladder we can take x-rays to show those areas.  You will receive full instructions when you receive your appointment.

Frequently asked questions

I am a diabetic do I have to do anything different?

On your appointment letter it will ask you to contact the department if you are a diabetic, we can then discuss with you any special needs you have because of your diabetic status.  For all general x-rays that do not require any preparation there is no need to let us know.

Why do I have to hold my breath?

We only ask you to hold your breathe for certain x-rays e.g. chest, abdomen and some spine films.  If you are holding your breath the lungs or other organs do not move and we will get an image that is not blurred.

Why did I have to have extra films taken?

Extra films are taken for various reasons.  Sometimes after looking at the first x-ray the Radiologist or Radiographer decides that extra films are needed to demonstrate the bone or organ further.  Sometimes for technical reasons the Radiographer will need to repeat films because the images are not good enough.   This happens very rarely and throughout the Trust there is a very low reject rate.

Why can't you tell me if you see anything on the x-ray?

The Radiographer who takes your x-rays reviews them to ensure they are correct and of the best quality.  The medical report on your films is provided by a specially trained doctor called a Radiologist who will send the report to the person who referred you to us.  This report will in most cases be available within a few days.

Will I have to get undressed?

For some x-rays you will be asked to undress and wear a x-ray gown. 

Are there Disabled facilities?

All the trust sites have cubicles and toilets specifically for the disabled, if you have any special needs or are worried you can always contact us before you come.

Can I accompany my child into the X-Ray room?

Yes - you can always come into the x-ray room with your child.  We might need you to wear a protective 'Lead Apron' so that you can reassure your child and remain close to them during the examination.

Will someone look after my children if I have to bring them with me?

We would prefer not to take your children into the x-ray room.  If you do not have anyone to leave your children with we will do our best to supervise  them whilst you are being x-rayed. 

I am on Income Support can I claim travelling expenses?

Yes, please ask at the reception desk when you attend the department for details.

If you have any other  questions please ask a member of staff when you attend or ring the department before your appointment.

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