MRI Scanning

No. You don’t need a GP’s permission to take steps to improve your health. We want you to feel better, faster, so you can get an MRI scan without speaking to a GP.

Most MRI scans are requested on a non-urgent, consultant-led basis. This means many urgent cases are given priority. The versatility of MRIs, combined with the increased safety compared to other scans, means there is more demand than places. Non-priority cases are ubject a waiting time of several months from the time when your NHS e-Referral Service appointment OR when the hospital gets your referral letter to allow for priority cases.

No. MRIs do not use ionizing radiation and are considered a non-invasive procedure. Instead, MRIs use a strong magnetic field and radio waves to take pictures. MRIs are safe for most patients and have a reduced risk compared to X-Rays and CT scans which use harmful radiation.

Yes. MRIs are painless procedures. You will have to lie still for an extended period, which can be slightly uncomfortable, but there is no pain.

As a private clinic, we have access to our own MRI machine and can organise an MRI appointment within days. However, the NHS waiting list for MRIs depends on the number of priority cases, so you could be waiting months.

If you really want to know what’s going on in your body, you should consider a full-body MRI scan. This five-part scan covers the Head, Neck, Chest, Abdomen, and Pelvis. It involves mapping the pathology of the body and can help diagnose and track genetic conditions and examine injury and trauma.
A full-body MRI scan includes:
  • Head: tumour, previous stroke, aneurysm, signs of dementia
  • Neck: narrowing of carotid vessels (risk of stroke), thyroid, lymph nodes, spine
  • Chest: lung cancer (sizable), pleural effusion, lymph nodes in the chest
  • Abdomen: screening organs for cancer, liver, tumours, gallstones, aortic health
  • Pelvis: lymph nodes, reproductive organs, joints, and bowel

Well, it’s the National Health Service after all. It’s looking after the vast majority of patients in the UK. So, you are competing with everyone you live nearby who may have more critical healthcare concerns than you. With more people needing scans than ever before, the wait list is increasing. You can skip this queue if you opt to get a private MRI scan.

Also known as a private MRI scan, a self-pay MRI is where you seek treatment away from the NHS with a private GP, surgery or clinic. You will need to pay for the MRI scan but you will not need to wait for an NHS appointment. When looking for a self-pay MRI scan, you can book in directly with a private clinic. 

Yes. If you’re willing to pay for the scan yourself, you do not need a doctor to refer you. A self-refer, self-pay scan can be booked directly with a private clinic. You can book whatever type of scan you need without a clinical referral. You should be aware that you will need to discuss your results with your GP aftwarsd or speak to an expert at the clinic.

Joint Injections

Joint injections contain hydrocortisone which is a specific type of steroid called a corticosteroid. The injections gradually release hydrocortisone into the joint where it can suppress the immune system activity in the area which is causing inflammation. As a result, the pain and swelling go down.

The effects of the joint injection can work as quickly as a few hours, but most can expect to feel better after two to three days.

You may only need one joint injection if your pain and swelling get better, but if you have a long-term problem you may need to have more. It is recommended that you don’t have hydrocortisone injections into the same joint more than four times a year.

You may have the injection under local anaesthetic so you shouldn’t feel any pain during the procedure. If you are not having anaesthetic you may experience a little discomfort.

Joint injections help with pain and swelling for several months, as well as improving the movement of the joint. In some cases, you may only need one injection, but if you have long-term joint pain you may need further injections.

As hydrocortisone in the injection acts to reduce the inflammation and pain in your joint by weakening your immune system, you can also be more at risk to infections.

You can still have vaccinations after your treatment but you should mention this to your doctor or nurse first.

You can continue to eat and drink as normal before and after your joint injection. You can drink alcohol as normal before and after your treatment.

Hydrocortisone joint injections will not affect the fertility of either men or women. Hydrocortisone joint injections will not affect any types of contraception.

There are other types of medication for swollen and painful joints, such as painkilling creams or over-the-counter painkillers. Your doctor can also prescribe stronger painkillers such as codeine and naproxen. Physiotherapy and lifestyle changes have also been shown to be effective in reducing joint pain.

Lifestyle changes can help with your joint and you can seek advice from a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist about this. You may find that some changes in exercise, using a walking stick, or having electrotherapy can improve the pain and swelling in your joint.

Children can have joint injections, but if they are repeated over many months it may slow down their normal growth. Please talk to your doctor if you have any concerns surrounding this.

It is usually recommended that you shouldn’t have more than four injections into the same joint over one year, any more than this may result in irreversible damage.