Having a test or scan

Many children have a test or scan to diagnose (work out) their medical condition or to plan further treatment. We carry out many different tests and scans at GOSH, so have a look at our information about specific ones in our procedures and treatments area

Talking to your child about the test or scan

There are many things that you can do to prepare your child for a test or scan – have a look at our Talking about hospital page for ideas and suggestions. It's important that you sit down with your child and explain to them where they are going, that they will be having a test or scan, and basic details about what to expect.

  • There is lots of information on our website about tests and scan – read the Talking about hospital information sheet so you understand what will happen before you talk to your child about it.
  • Make sure they understand why they are having the test or scan – is it to find out why they are sore or checking that the treatment is working?
  • Use words that your child will understand – have a look at our Easy Read information sheets for ideas.
  • Encourage your child to ‘play hospital’ so that they can talk about the test or scan and ask questions.
  • If your child is due to have an anaesthetic or sedation for the test or scan, talk to them about what to expect.
  • Talk to them about how long they will probably be in hospital and what will happen during the stay.

If you would like some advice about talking to your child about the operation or procedure, contact the Play team on 020 7829 8849.

Consent – agreeing to have a test or scan

We will always ask for permission to carry out a test or scan with an anaesthetic or sedation. We may ask consent for other tests and scans, depending on what they involve. Learn more about giving consent.

What to expect

When you arrive at GOSH, you may need to go to a ward or straight to the department where the test or scan will take place. Your appointment letter will tell you where to go and if there is anything your child needs to do to prepare.

If your child is having the test or scan with an anaesthetic or sedation, they will usually need to go to a ward first to get ready. You will meet an anaesthetist who will talk to you and your child about having the anaesthetic or sedation. For more information, please see our page on anaesthesia and sedation. You will be able to stay with your child until they are under anaesthetic but will then have to wait elsewhere for the test to be completed.

The person carrying out the test or scan will explain what it involves and check that your child understands what is needed. They will also tell you about getting the results and when you will be able to discuss them with the doctors.

Your child will then have the test or scan – for details of what will happen, have a look at the relevant information sheet in our procedures and treatments area. You can also contact the team using the details on the appointment letter.

If your child is awake for the test or scan, you will probably be able to stay with them throughout. The main exception to this is if the test or scan uses x-rays and you are pregnant or think you could be – in this case, we would advise another adult to stay with your child to protect your unborn baby from unnecessary radiation.

Getting the results

Unless there is an urgent need to start or change treatment, you will have the opportunity to discuss the results at your child’s next outpatient appointment, but we will let you know. Sometimes, you will be able to see your child’s results on MyGOSH once you have registered. Learn more about MyGOSH