We offer a wide range of examinations (scans and x-rays) for both NHS and private patients at the request of authorised referrers (a GP, for example). We also offer some other useful services listed at the bottom of this page. We are happy to accept NHS and private referrals from outside Bedfordshire as long as they come from an authorised referrer. Please follow the link below for full details of our service for private patients and private referrers
We are in the main hospital building next to the pharmacy department close to the Britannia Road entrance to the hospital. We also have a small x-ray department located in the Accident and Emergency department and a scanning unit in the Cygnet Wing. Most examinations are carried out in the main department and your appointment letter will give you details of where to attend.
We are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm however, we do some examinations outside these times by special appointment.
Our waiting times vary depending on the type of x-ray or scan you are waiting for and also on the demand for a particular examination. In order to meet the guidelines issued by the Department of Health we now obliged to keep our waiting lists for all examinations below six weeks. We are working very hard at the moment to get down to a maximum wait of two weeks.
Please note that you will need a referral letter to have an x-ray.
- Plain x-rays: zero wait (walk-in service)
- Nuclear medicine: two to three weeks
- Special x-rays (e.g Barium meals): two weeks
- DXA scans: two weeks
- CT scans: six weeks
- MRI scans: six weeks
- Ultrasound scans: six to eight weeks
We only accept x-ray/scan requests from authorised referrers, you cannot refer yourself. Authorised referrers include hospital doctors and GPs, dentists and some specially trained nurses and physiotherapists. The request is usually written on an x-ray request card or a letter and must be signed, dated and contain enough information to make sure the most appropriate examination is being requested. The person writing the request for you has to make sure it meets the guidelines for x-ray/scan examination issued by the department.
Please note x-rays referred by your GP take place in the Cauldwell Centre.
X-rays and Scans
Below are the types of X-rays and scans carried out at Bedford.
- Accident/Emergency X-rays
- Bone density scans
- Cardiovascular X-rays
- CT scanning
- Nuclear medicine
- Plain X-rays
- Special x-rays
- Ultrasound scanning
Plain x-rays can be done in our walk in session which operates between 9am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
The results will be sent back to the doctor who referred you for the x-ray/scan within five working days. We do not generally give results on the day.
Telephone: 01234 792239 (with answerphone), 01234 792106
We also offer the following services:
- Work experience (must be 16 years of age or older)
- Copying of films for medico-legal purposes (for solicitors) for patients who been x-rayed or scanned at Bedford
- Clinical placement for radiography students
- School visits (for children under 16 years of age, will be arranged for after 5pm)
- X-ray services for outside dentists
- Visiting talks for local schools
- Visits for student nurses and doctors
- Voluntary work
The Imaging Department is extremely well equipped and provides a comprehensive range of diagnostic and interventional services. Each service tends to be referred to as a modality, please see below for opening hours and a brief outline of each service.
We have a large multidisciplinary team comprising of Radiologists, Radiographers, Sonographers, Senior Nurses, Imaging Assistants, Administrators and Porters. Patients will always receive a friendly and professional welcome. We pride ourselves in delivering a patient focussed service with a maximum waiting time of four weeks for most routine examinations.
The department provides plain film xray support for GPs, outpatient clinics, in-patients, dental and fluoroscopy.
Monday to Friday, 8.30- 17.00
Walk-in access for chest xray opening times:
Monday to Friday, 9.00-12.00 and 13.30-16.30
Please note – Patients may be asked to change into a gown for certain xray procedures.
This department is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week providing plain film xray support to our Emergency Department and Acute Wards.
The CT department has two GE scanners, Discovery HD with the latest dual energy capabilities and an OPTIMA 660 with organ dose modulation. We carry out a large range of CT examinations including colonography studies and cardiac scanning. CT is open 7 days per week:
Monday to Friday, 8.00 – 20.00
Saturday and Sunday 8.00 – 18.00
Emergency CT is available 24 hrs per day
The department has three MRI scanners carrying out a large range of examinations. MRI is open 7 days a week:
Monday to Friday 07.00 – 21.00
Saturday and Sunday 8.00 – 18.00
General Medical Ultrasound
General medical ultrasound covers abdominal, soft tissue and vascular examinations. Our general medical ultrasound department is open 7 days per week:
Monday to Thursday 8.00 – 20.00
Friday 8.00 – 16.30
Saturday and Sunday 8.30 – 16.30
Maternity Ultrasound Department
Our Maternity Ultrasound Department is based in our Women’s Health Unit, the opening times are below:
Monday, Wednesday to Friday, 8.00 – 16.30
Tuesday, 8.00 – 20.00
Please see our policy on Fetal Sexing for pregnant women who attend our Ultrasound Department.
Nuclear Medicine Department
Nuclear Medicine Department opening times:
Monday to Friday, 8.30 – 17.00
This department involves the use of radioisotopes to assist in specialist imaging and also includes bone densitometry (DEXA) scanning.
Waiting times for all diagnostic services are low. The national waiting time targets are to see patients within six weeks but this department strives to provide a faster response and is working towards extending patient choice of appointments wherever possible. Please see our Patient Access Policy for further information.
X-rays and Radiation
We all receive radiation, known as “background radiation”, every day. This is due to natural causes from cosmic rays, from rocks, from travel and from the food we eat. Every x-ray we have results in a small additional dose of radiation; the level of dose varies with different types of x-ray examinations.
If you require more information about the radiation dose you will receive from your examination, please speak to the radiographer looking after you when you come for your test or find more information below:
Referrals & Clinician Guidance
All Imaging referrals are either supported by a specialist pathway or by appointment (other than walk-in chest xray access). The service is open to direct access GP referrals through electronic ordering in ICE with reports readily available through the same mechanism. Consultant Radiologists may be contacted for further opinion on reports and for clinical advice on the most appropriate examination for patients. Please see iRefer that may also be of assistance.
If you have any queries about your examination, or the service in general please contact us on 01582 718156.