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Chest X-ray referrals from your GP

Your chest X-ray appointment

When your GP refers you for a chest X-ray, you will either be contacted by the hospital with appointment details or your GP will provide you with appointment details.

It is important you attend your chest X-ray appointment because early diagnosis and treatment can lead to a better outcome for you.

If you are waiting for the details of your appointment from the hospital and you do not hear anything within five working days, please contact the relevant hospital:

If you require a CT scan

Please be aware that sometimes a chest X-ray may not give us enough information and you may need a more detailed CT scan of your chest (and possibly upper abdomen). A CT scan uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of the body.

If this is the case, the hospital will arrange this automatically and one of the following will occur:

  • You may be contacted by the Imaging team (X-ray department) within a few days of your chest X-ray, to arrange your CT scan appointment. It is important that you attend this
  • Sometimes it may be possible to carry out the CT scan immediately after your chest X-ray

You may be asked to change into a hospital gown prior to your scan. The CT scan involves lying flat on the scanner table, which then slides through the CT machine. The scan itself is very quick. The CT scan may involve an injection of dye (also known as contrast) into a vein. Before injecting the dye we need to know how good your kidney function is, so we might need to do a blood test if there are no recent results available.

What happens after the CT scan

The CT scan will be reported by a doctor (Radiologist). The findings will then be discussed by specialist respiratory (lung) doctors in a meeting.

If the CT scan is reassuring, a letter will be sent to you and your GP explaining this and you may not need to see a hospital specialist. Your GP will be kept updated about your scan results once reported.

Alternatively, your scan may demonstrate something that needs more urgent investigation. In this case, the hospital will contact you by text message, phone and/or letter to arrange an appointment with a lung specialist in a clinic. Your GP will also receive the result of your scan and may be able to discuss it with you. However, as it is a specialist scan, your GP will need a full management plan from the specialist lung team before they can discuss it fully.

If you have not heard back from your GP or the hospital within two weeks of your CT scan, please contact the lung nurse specialists at the relevant hospital:

Last reviewed: 04 April 2024