Tel: 01223 216 320 (Main radiology reception area)
The radiology directorate provides a diagnostic, interventional and therapeutic service for its local population, and a tertiary service for the region. It also provides support to some national work such as Gaucher's disease. It operates under the Royal College of Radiology guidelines.
Radiology images over 200 000 patients each year.
The General radiology department is responsible for the majority of plain films taken throughout the hospital. It is located in the outpatient area of Addenbrooke’s Hospital. Plain films include chest X-rays, X-rays for trauma (suspected broken bones), for accident and emergency work and for patients referred direct to the department by their general practitioners (GPs). This department also images patients referred by outpatient clinics.
In the general radiology department, patients from clinics are seen on a 'demand basis', so there might be a waiting time depending on how busy the department is at the time. Patients referred in by GPs are imaged at appointment times. Different rooms are specialised for different examinations. This department has a large waiting room and friendly reception area, so the wait for X-rays should be in comfortable surroundings.
Room 11, located within the General X-ray Department, is responsible for taking X-rays of inpatients. Demand is always large for inpatient X-rays; patients are imaged according to clinical urgency.
The fluoroscopy suite uses dynamic imaging to look at internal organs in the body using contrast media such as barium. This demonstrates the alimentary system and the gastrointestinal system. It also helps other practitioners with their patients, for example speech therapists working with patients who are having difficulties swallowing.
Using special liquids called ‘contrast media’, it is possible to visualise arteries and veins within the body. This work uses very specialised techniques and equipment. Interventional work is also carried out, such as the insertion of metal stents in areas of artery stenosis, or the insertion of coils into cerebral arteries. Much of the work in this department is done as an emergency procedure, and there is a significant amount of work performed on a 24-hour basis.
Ultrasound is a form of diagnostic imaging that does not use ionising radiation. Instead, sound waves are used, which reflect from body tissues giving an image on a screen. There are two main areas where ultrasound is performed:
General ultrasound department
This is situated on level 3 in the main X-ray department. Examinations are used to detect problems in the abdomen, pelvis and some soft-tissue areas.
Obstetric ultrasound department
Mainly for pregnant women, this department is based in the Rosie Hospital. Obstetric scans are performed (a) to work out the age of a fetus and (b) to ensure the healthy development of the fetus in the womb.
> Ultrasound scanning
There are two CT scanners on Level 2 in the main radiology department, which are used for examinations of any part of the body. Patients are referred for these procedures only by a hospital consultant.
Short for computed tomography, CT is a specialised type of diagnostic imaging. Using X-rays, the CT scanner is able to create cross-sectional imaging - simulating 'slices' through the body. Three-dimensional imaging is also possible, for example in orthopaedic and facial reconstruction. Biopsies can also be performed in this department, which avoids the need for a patient to have an 'open' biopsy in an operating theatre.
Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty that uses safe, painless, and cost-effective techniques both to image the body and also to treat disease. Most organ systems can be imaged and targeted by nuclear medicine techniques and we have a choice of nearly 100 procedures, which are used by many departments - from children's services to cardiology to oncology.
The Cambridge Breast Unit is is situated on Robinson Way. Triple screening of women is undertaken in the Unit as part of the symptomatic breast programme. The Unit provides the Cambridge & Huntingdon mammography screening service in the Hospital and via the visiting van
The MRI Department is located next to the medical admissions Unit. MRI uses magnets and radio waves to create an image of the body. It is used extensively for neurological patients. Because of the magnetic field generated, it is not a suitable imaging technique for patients who have pacemakers or other pieces of 'metal' in their bodies. However, because it does not use ionising radiation and can create detailed images of soft tissue, it can be used for the detection of many diseases. As a result, there is currently a long waiting list for non-urgent procedures (August 2000).
Radiology provides other services to departments at Addenbrooke's including to the dental department, the wards and the operating theatres.
There are 22 consultants in the combined NHS and University Directorate, and highly skilled radiographic, nursing and other support staff.
Radiologist: a doctor who has spent five further years training in this specialty;
Radiographer: a degree-trained professional allied to medicine, who is responsible for the imaging.
The radiology directorate provides a friendly working environment, and maintains a continual interest in quality, audit, research and patient-centred care. See Working at Addenbrooke's for current vacancies.