Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Doctor discussing CT scans with a parent and child

Doctor discussing CT scans with a parent and child
beginning of content

CT scans - information for referrers

2-minute read

In Australia, recent data show there are over 80,000 computed tomography (CT) scans performed annually on children and young people under the age of 20.

CT is a valuable investigative technique because it provides a low risk, non-invasive, fast and accurate method of diagnosing serious injury and illness.

However, CT also comes with an increased exposure to ionising radiation which has been linked to a slight increased risk of cancer.

Doctors and other health care professionals who refer children and young people for CT scans should be aware of this risk and discuss it with the patient and the parent or carer.

General information

Clinical decision support tools

  • The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has developed an online learning module, Radiation Protection of the Patient for referrers of medical imaging. Australian GPs who complete the module may be able to earn CPD points for undertaking the training.
  • The Western Australian Department of Health has developed a clinical decision support tool and educational resource for diagnostic imaging, WA Diagnostic Imaging Pathways. This resource has been endorsed by RANZCR.
  • RANZCR has developed Education Modules for Appropriate Imaging Referrals which are designed for use in a health professional’s early career. The modules include detailed explanations of the evidence base, providing the background to, and demonstrating the appropriate use of, clinical decision rules.

Last reviewed: June 2017

Recommended links

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

High Resolution Computed Tomography

Diagnostic Imaging Pathways - Common Procedures High Resolution Computed Tomography (HRCT) High-Resolution Computed Tomography (HRCT) is a widely used technique to image various lung pathology

Read more on Diagnostic Imaging Pathways website

Computed Tomography

Diagnostic Imaging Pathways - Common Procedures Computed Tomography (CT) Computed Tomography (CT) involves using an X-ray tube coupled to a detector system, encased within a doughnut shaped gantry

Read more on Diagnostic Imaging Pathways website

CT scan (computerised tomography) | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

What is a CT scan? CT stands for "computerised tomography"

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Medical Imaging and You

Advances in medical technology have given doctors access to a wider range of medical imaging tests than ever before to help them diagnose, manage and treat internal conditions. This brochure provides a basic understanding of radiation, its use in medical imaging, the risks and benefits, and the safety factors built into imaging procedures.

Read more on ACI - Agency for Clinical Innovation website

Talk to your doctor about... Your child and CT Scans

To find out more ask for our brochure 'What you need to know about CT Scans for children' or go to

Read more on Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care website

What you need to know about CT scans for children - A resource for parents and carers

In Australia, many children have a computed tomography (CT) scan each year. CT scans provide doctors with important information to help them care for children. This brochure answers some questions you might have if your child needs a CT scan.

Read more on Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care website

Radiation Health - Legislation, standards and information

Radiation Health administers Queensland's Radiation Safety Act 1999 and the Radiation Safety Regulation 2010. The objective of the Act is to protect persons from health risks associated with exposure to particular sources of ionising radiation and harmful non-ionising radiation, and to protect the environment from being adversely affected by exposure to radiation.

Read more on Queensland Health website

Radiology Clinician Fact Sheet - Radiation Information

This fact sheet has been developed as a reference to help radiology clinicians and referrers to medical imaging services consistently explain the benefits and risks associated with imaging procedures and radiation doses to patients.

Read more on ACI - Agency for Clinical Innovation website

CT scan - Better Health Channel

The CT scan is a medical imaging procedure that uses x-rays and digital computer technology to create detailed images of the body.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Kidz@GCU Hospital App - YouTube

From the developers of the educational "Kidz@GCU Hospital" App, we have created a short video to provide insight into what this app is about and why it is he...

Read more on Queensland Health website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo