Some frequently asked questions that we hope will answer the most likely questions you have about medical imaging in general. If you don’t find the information you need, please feel free to contact us.
Do I need a doctor’s referral to book an appointment and have an exam?
Yes. At South Coast Radiology we require a referral from an authorised referrer before we can book or perform any medical imaging study. Authorised referrers include specialists, general practitioners, dentists, chiropractors, osteopaths, physiotherapists and podiatrists. However, no referral is required for 4D ultrasounds, because no Medicare benefit is paid.
Why choose South Coast Radiology for your medical imaging test?
South Coast Radiology has been proudly servicing the local community for over 50 years. Since 1967 when radiologist Dr David Jones opened his first practice at 125 Nerang Street, Southport, South Coast Radiology has provided professional and personable care for patients that accompanies our dependable and accurate results for doctors.
South Coast Radiology’s Women’s Imaging Centre is the only dedicated women’s imaging facility on the Gold Coast designed to meet the unique health care needs of women by providing specialised diagnostic imaging services in a caring and comfortable atmosphere, for over 10 years.
Our 13 well-located practices expand conveniently across the Tweed and Gold Coast, as well as servicing patients at our additional regional locations, Darling Downs Radiology and Mackay Radiology, and the first dedicated women’s imaging centre on the Gold Coast in Southport.
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Will South Coast Radiology accept another radiology company’s referral?
Yes. We accept all radiology referral requests from alternate medical imaging organisations.
Do I need to make an appointment?
General and dental X-rays do not require an appointment, however to ensure short wait times it is recommended you book prior to arrival.
For all other examinations you are required to schedule an appointment.
How do I make an appointment?
Please phone our dedicated appointment line on 1300 197 297, or complete our online bookings form here. Our friendly staff will schedule a time that suits you and provide further details about your examination, parking, directions and any costs involved.
If you have a South Coast Radiology referral you can find all our practice locations, opening times and phone numbers on the referral, along with the examinations available at each practice.
Can I wait for my results?
One of our radiologists will interpret your imaging study and provide your doctor or health professional with a comprehensive report about the findings. You will need to return to your referring practitioner to discuss your results. Reporting of your images could take up to 24 hours, unless marked urgent. Please allow this time when booking your follow up appointment with your doctor.
If you require your results for a same day follow up appointment, please let our staff know.
Are X-rays safe?
South Coast Radiology invest in the latest low dose imaging technology available, and when clinically warranted, the benefits of having an X-ray test outweigh any harm from a small dose of radiation. During a person’s lifetime the effect of each radiation dose is cumulative and doctors consider this prior to each X-ray. If you have any concerns about the amount of radiation you’ve been exposed to you should discuss this with your doctor.
If you are pregnant or suspect you might be pregnant be sure to tell your doctor and our staff prior to any X-ray, as we will most likely need to source an alternate form of imaging, unless your doctor believes the benefits of the test outweigh any risk. There can be risks to the developing child, especially during the first three months of pregnancy. If the area of imaging is not your abdomen or pelvis, a lead gown can be placed over your abdomen to reduce the risk to the foetus. For more information visit our X-ray patient safety here.
Are X-ray and MRI contrast agents safe?
The contrast agents that South Coast Radiology use are among the safest pharmaceutical products available today.
Radiology contrast agents permit visualisation of internal structure or organs that would not otherwise be demonstrable. Successive developments in pharmacology mean that today’s contrast agents are well tolerated. X-ray contrast is cleared from the system rapidly and naturally, usually with no adverse effects at all. Some people are allergic to iodine, before a person is given any contrast agent he or she is asked a series of relevant questions to determine the likelihood of an adverse reaction.
Most contrast media reactions are minor and need no treatment. Moderate reactions are encountered rarely and severe reactions very rarely, but all moderate and severe reactions require adequate treatment. Our staff are trained to promptly treat any adverse reactions.
A few of the most common radiology examinations that utilise contrast agents include Angiography, CT, Interventional procedures, barium studies and MRI. Please visit our services page here for further information regarding patient safety and your imaging.
Can I have MRI after a hip or knee replacement?
Although orthopaedic and dental implants are metal, they are not magnetic (ferrous). These include hip and knee replacements, plates, screws, and rods to treat limb fractures, and dental fillings. While non-ferrous surgical metal can distort an MRI image, the majority are safe within the strong magnetic field of an MRI machine.
Anyone having an MRI must answer a series of questions to determine the likelihood of any safety problems. The types of metal implants that could be affected by the strong magnetic forces include:
- Pacemakers or heart valves
- Metal implants in a patient’s brain
- Metal implants in a patient’s eye or ears
- Infusion catheters
Please be sure to discuss any concerns you have with the radiographer before the MRI test.
Does Medicare cover the cost of my test?
All patients are advised of any fees prior to their examination being performed based on presentation of a doctors referral.
All general and dental X-rays, EOS, and CT scans are bulk-billed for all patients at most South Coast Radiology locations. Outpatient nuclear medicine examinations are bulk billed at all locations.
If you have a doctor’s referral, a Medicare card, and your examination meets Medicare criteria you will receive a rebate for a percentage of the cost. A number of our practices can charge Medicare directly resulting in no out-of-pocket costs for the patient.
If you hold a current Government Health Care or Pension Card then you will be bulk-billed for most examinations.
All DVA patients with Gold Card entitlements are billed directly to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
You will be advised of any fees upon time of your booking, and prior to imaging on the day. For more information visit our billing, payment and rebates page.
Will my health insurance cover any of the costs?
Australian’s Private health insurance will cover some of the costs if you have radiology tests while an inpatient in a private hospital. Medicare will cover 75% of the Schedule Fee and your private health insurance will refund 25% of the Schedule Fee (MBS) for associated medical costs, such as radiology tests.
For all medical imaging services in a private hospital Accident and Emergency department prior to being admitted as an inpatient, normal outpatient fees apply. Currently, Australian private health insurers do not pay the gap between the Medicare rebate and what you pay for any outpatient radiology tests.
Medicare Australia offers a safety net system to help patients if they need to pay for large amounts over and above the Medicare rebate. This only applies to outpatient services. Please contact Medicare on 132 011 for more information.
For more information visit our billing, payment and rebates section.
What happens if I’m not eligible for Medicare?
If you are not eligible for cover through Medicare you will be charged a fee for services, but you will be given a quote beforehand. If you have travel insurance, check your policy to see if your medical expenses, such as radiology tests, are covered by that insurance.
For more information visit our billing, payment and rebates section.