Radiology Department

The Radiology (X-Ray) Department in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children (Children’s Hospital) performs around 35,000 examinations per year. Our referrals come from across Northern Ireland as well as the Children’s Hospital.

Types of examinations performed include:

  • Plain X-rays
  • Ultrasound
  • Fluoroscopy examinations (“X-ray videos”)
  • CT scans
  • Nuclear medicine studies.

How to Access the Service:

Radiology examinations can be requested by another doctor or a specially trained nurse practitioner.

Booked examinations are carried out between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday. If possible, we will try and organise appointments at a time convenient for parents/carers, and to coincide with other hospital appointments.

Priority for services is always given to emergency cases and those children who are the most seriously ill or injured.

Some examinations require special preparation. Instruction sheets for some of our more complicated examinations will be given or sent out to parents/carers when appointments are made. Staff in the department will be happy to discuss any special preparation that is needed before a test can be done or to explain what a given test involves.

TIP: whilst we have a TV in our waiting room and some basic toys, we would recommend you bring something for your child to play with or read when you come to the X-ray department; unexpected delays can crop up if we are dealing with emergency cases

Location of the Service:

The Radiology Department is located in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

The RBHSC does not currently have its own MRI scanner. Children who require an MRI examination are transferred to the Imaging Centre in the main RVH for their study; the pictures will still be viewed and reported by a specialist children’s radiologist

You can contact the Radiology department on 02890 636524.

External links:

GOSH Radiology

Royal Manchester University Hospital Radiology

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will my child have to wait for an appointment in the X-ray department?

In part, this will depend upon the type of test that is required. Plain X-rays can usually be done on the same day. Appointments for other types of examinations are usually arranged within a few days or weeks. Longer waiting times exist for those children who need more complicated tests, and who need to have a general anaesthetic (be put to sleep) to have the test done

My child has to have a barium meal examination. Are they allowed to have their medicine before they come for the test?

Yes. Children should take their required medicines before any radiology test. The exception to this is those children who are diabetic (and take insulin). These children will have their tests arranged by the paediatrician (children’s doctor) and the X-ray department, to make sure their sugar levels are kept within the normal range for the time of their test

My child has an appointment for a micturating cystogram test but I’ve forgotten to order their antibiotics from my GP. What should I do?

Please let the reception staff know as soon as you arrive in the department or better still, telephone us in advance. Arrangements will either be made to re-schedule the appointment

My child had an appointment in the X-ray department, but I forgot all about it. What should I do?

Please telephone the department and explain the situation to the reception staff. A new appointment will be made, though in some cases this may involve a delay of several weeks. If you do not contact the department, then a new appointment will automatically be sent out to you. If you do not attend on 2 separate occasions, then the request form will be sent back to the doctor who originally asked for the test to be done, suggesting they contact you to discuss if the test is still necessary

How long will it take for my child’s X-rays or scans to be reported?

Most tests are reported by the radiologist (X-ray doctor) within 24 – 48 hours. Emergency examinations are reported immediately and always take priority over routine (booked) studies

Where do the results of my child’s X-ray or test go? Can I phone the X-ray department and ask for the result myself?

We are unable to give X-ray or scan reports out over the telephone. When a hospital doctor has requested the test, the report will go back to their secretary or directly to the ward, if your child is a hospital in-patient at the time. Tests requested by GPs will have the results sent back to the GP surgery

What happens if my child needs an X-ray or scan in the evening or at the weekend?

There is always a radiographer and a radiologist on duty outside the normal working day (9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday) to look after children who need emergency studies