The South Eastern Trust Clinical Imaging Team uses radiography to diagnose, assess and treat patients for the population of North Down, Lisburn, Down and Ards Council areas and to a wider catchment which takes in parts of East Belfast.
The Department provides services to a resident population of 354,651 and residents in other Trusts which border the Trust catchment area.
Diagnostic imaging examinations are featured in nearly every patient’s healthcare journey, for example, to investigate a suspected broken bone, an ultrasound investigation or to guide treatment or procedures.
Our commitment to you:
Safety and quality remain our top priorities. Our beliefs and values will help us to achieve this. We will:-
- Treat everyone with dignity and respect
- Strive for excellence in all that we do
- Be fair, open and transparent
- Listen to and learn from our patients, clients, carers and staff
- Deliver care with compassion
- Support and develop our staff to improve services and user experience
These values will underpin our work and ensure that services are delivered safely, efficiently, effectively and contribute to the health and wellbeing of our population.
Our Services: Computed Tomography (CT)
CT is a type of scan that uses X-rays to produce detailed pictures of your body in “slice sections” (cross sections). The high quality images are examined by a Radiologist who specializes in reporting X-rays . The CT Scanner is an open ring-like structure (similar to a doughnut).
Our Services: Magnetic resonance (MRI)
MRI means ‘Magnetic Resonance Imaging’. It is an imaging technique using a strong magnetic field to produce high- quality pictures of the internal structures of your body. It is very good for looking at soft tissue structures, for example muscles and ligaments.
Our Services: Nuclear Medicine (NM)
Service in development due Autumn 2021.
Modern cameras allow CT (or MRI) images to be taken at the same time as Nuclear Medicine images, allowing more precise localisation of the radioactive substances. This is called SPECT-CT (or SPECT-MR) imaging and the South Eastern Trust has purchased a state of the art Siemens Intevo Gamma Camera with integrated high-performance CT for its new department in the Ulster Hospital.
In Nuclear Medicine Therapy radioactive substances are administered to treat disease or provide palliative pain relief. For example, administration of Iodine-131 is often used for the treatment of thyroid disorders including cancer.
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a combination of Nuclear Medicine imaging and biochemical analysis. A specialist PET/CT camera images the biochemical changes taking place in the body after an injection of a radioactive substance. PET is most commonly used in oncology (imaging of cancer) and neurology (imaging of brain conditions such as dementia), although it is also used as a research tool.
Our Services: Ultrasound (US)
An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the area of examination. A small handheld device a transducer is placed onto your skin, and moved over the part of the body being examined. Lubricating gel is put onto your skin to allow the transducer to move smoothly. This is a widely used diagnostic test to examine the organs and soft tissues of the body. The ultrasound is carried out by either a sonographer or radiologist; both are trained professionals in this type of scan.
Our Services: Mammography
The Mammography service is located in the Breast and Endocrine Unit at the Ulster Hospital. Patients attend the Unit for consultations at a Breast Clinic, Family History clinic or for follow-up appointments.
A mammogram is performed when requested by a Breast Clinician. A mammogram is a low dose X-ray examination of the breast which produces high quality digital images of the breast tissue in order to aid in the detection and diagnosis of breast disease. The mammogram images are reported by a Radiologist and if required, further examinations may be requested and performed. These include Breast Tomosynthesis or Ultrasound examinations. Breast tomosynthesis is carried out in a similar manner to a mammogram but obtains images at different angles which allows 3D images of the breast to be digitally produced.
Our Services: Interventional and Fluoroscopy (IR)
Interventional radiology is a specialist radiology service. It is where certain procedures can be under taken using x-ray or ultrasound guidance, to allow for highly effective and targeted treatment or diagnosis.
Fluoroscopy is a study of moving body structures—similar to an x-ray ‘movie’. The x-ray beam is passed through the body part being examined and is transmitted to a TV-like monitor, so that the body part and its movement can be visualised in ‘real time’.
Interventional and Fluoroscopy
Our Services: Dexa (DXA)
A Dexa (DXA) scan is a special type of X-ray that measures bone mineral density (BMD). DXA stands for ‘Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry’. It is the gold standard for measuring bone mineral density. These standard measurements are taken at the Lumbar spine & hips. A DXA scan is one of the most accurate ways to diagnose or assess someone’s risk of fracture and classify their bone density. Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones and makes them more likely to break.
Our Services: General Imaging
X-Rays are used to gain a diagnostic image of bones and certain parts of the body. The x-ray beam is passed through the body part being examined and is read by a detector which sends the image to a computer.
Meet Our Clinical Team
The diagnostic imaging service is provided by a range of highly trained professionals and supporting staff. We work together to try and make every patient’s experience positive. We are extremely proud of our teams who have won awards for their excellence both within and external to the organisation including the Society of Radiographers Team of the Year.
Radiologists are highly qualified and experienced doctors who specialise in diagnostic imaging. They direct a wide range of patient care, perform image-guided procedures, and interpret images to diagnose a vast range of conditions.
Sonographers are expert practitioners in ultrasound. They use sonography to scan most areas of the body to detect any abnormalities, as well as reporting on their own images.
Our skilled radiographers operate highly complex systems to take the images that our consultant radiologists and reporting radiographers then use to describe any findings. Radiographers perform a wide range of work across all types of imaging, although some do specialise and are ably supported by our Assistant Practitioners.
We are very proud of our assistants, who work alongside our radiography team to acquire images. Their knowledge, skills and patient care is second to none.
Our nurses have specialist knowledge and skills within diagnostic imaging which allows them to support and monitor patients undergoing interventional procedures.
Radiographic Assistants (RAs)
RAs are our clinical support team and they are a vital part of our team. They support our team during image procedures and you will likely meet one during a CT, MRI or ultrasound examinations.
Admin & Clerical Support
Our personal assistants, appointments team and reception staff are essential in ensuring the smooth running of our service schedules.
The PACS Team
Picture Archiving Computer System (PACS) is where all the images and reports generated by the clinical imaging department are digitally stored. The PACS team are responsible for making sure our work is maintained, protected and available to clinical teams across the Region (and if requested, beyond).
Your imaging examination
Your examination will be undertaken by a registered healthcare professional. As we are a teaching hospital, your examination may be carried out by a person in training. They will always be supervised by a registered professional. You have the right to request that your examination is performed by fully qualified personnel only.
The Consultant radiologist will have overall clinical responsibility for your examination.
To Make, change or cancel appointment
Due to the current pandemic, all outpatients must complete a COVID-19 screening questionnaire. This questionnaire will be provided at the time you are given your appointment. If you answer YES or if the appointment does not suit you or if you have any special requirements, please contact the Department of Radiology on
- Ulster MSK: (028) 9055 0411
- Ulster Breast & Endocrine Centre: (028) 9055 9229
- Lagan Valley: (028) 9250 1262
- Downe: (028) 4451 3867
- Cardiac (Ulster): (028) 9056 4760
- Downe: (028) 4451 3867
- Lagan Valley: (028) 9250 1262
- (028) 9056 4716
Plain Film Imaging
- Ulster: (028) 9056 4720
- Downe: (028) 4461 3311
- Lagan Valley: (028) 9266 5141
- Ards/Bangor: (028) 9151 0109
- Bangor (028) 9151 0109
Unfortunately if you fail to attend without informing us beforehand, a second appointment may not be offered.
Who can accompany me?
Due to social distancing guidelines, where possible, please attend on your own at the allocated time. It is acceptable for one adult to accompany a child or vulnerable adult. Interpreters accompanying a patient will be counted as the one accompanying adult and other family members should not attend. Staff will be wearing the necessary protective clothing in clinical areas. You must wear a face covering. We apologise for any inconvenience and appreciate your co-operation.
We know that x-rays and imaging can be a daunting experience for children, but our team is experienced at putting them at ease. Your child is welcome to bring along a toy or comforter and our friendly team will explain exactly what’s going to happen when they have their special picture taken. We also have certificates and stickers at the ready for after they have been brave!
“X-ray staff are unable to look after your child/children whilst you have your examination. Please try and make alternative arrangements or have another adult accompany you during your visit. If this is difficult, please contact us so that we can offer you a more convenient appointment.”
For more information visit our imaging children e-leaflet here.
Supporting your imaging experience
SET is committed to the provision of a service that is fair, accessible and meets the needs of all individuals. For future information please visit SET Equality action plan
SET is committed to equal access for all our patients, clients and staff. We continue to work towards enabling all patients with a disability or a long-term condition to have access to safe, quality, professional, care. For further information on our Disability Action Plan, click here
If you wish to avail of our interpreting service, please contact the Department of Radiology using the number on the front page of this letter prior to your appointment.
Please be aware that you are giving your consent to the examination in principle when you attend the appointment. For some procedures written or verbal consent may be required (including for research purposes), however, this will be discussed prior to your examination.
How will I get my results?
The results for of your outpatient examination will be sent to the referrer, who requested your examination within 28 days. If you have not received your results within this time, you should contact the person/clinic that sent you for your examination.
From time to time, some examinations may be reported by registered professionals in the Independent Sector. All Consultant Radiologists working in the Independent Sector are fully qualified and approved by the NHS.
Radiation and Optical Laser Safety
What are medical X-rays?
X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, similar to visible light. Unlike light, however, x-rays have a higher energy and can pass through most objects including the body. Medical x-rays are used to generate images of tissues and structures inside the body.
What are Laser positioning Aids?
Some of our medical imaging equipment use laser positioning aids. A laser is a device that generates an intense beam of light through a process of optical amplification using electromagnetic radiation. Lasers are used in medical x-ray equipment to help healthcare professionals achieve accurate patient positioning for imaging.
Are medical X-rays and Laser positioning Aids Safe?
Prior to undertaking medical imaging, our clinical staff consider both the risks and benefits when deciding what examination and imaging equipment is appropriate for you to ensure the benefits of having your imaging examination outweighs the risk. All our lasers associated with diagnostic imaging are 3R classification or below. Therefore the risks of side effects from exposure to such Lasers is minimal. Additionally, All of our medical imaging equipment and facilitates are designed and tested and our registered healthcare professionals are trained to make sure that the amount of radiation that you receive is kept as low as reasonably practicable to aid your diagnosis or treatment.
Tell us about your imaging experience
We welcome feedback from our patients and their relatives.
If you have any suggestions, compliments or complaints, please get in touch via:
Looking after your Data
The information we hold about you will be managed in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Information about all aspects of your treatment is confidential and will not be shared with anyone except other healthcare professionals directly involved with your care including your own GP. You have the right to apply for access to your health records. For more information visit https://setrust.hscni.net/about-the-trust/access-to-information/
The information we hold about you will be store electronically and managed in a way to ensure appropriate security and is protected against unauthorised processing, access, loss or damage. Please help us to ensure that the details we hold for you are accurate and up to date.