How to get a referral to our open MRI scanner from Scotland


Newcastle Clinic’s open MRI scanner is the only option for patients from Scotland who require a scan and cannot tolerate a traditional MRI.

We’ve seen many patients from Scotland who are claustrophobic, of large-build or obese, who find it essential to travel to Newcastle in order to receive the medical care they need.

Scotland does not currently have any open MRI scanners to serve claustrophobic or obese patients. This is unfortunate, as more than a quarter of the Scottish population is considered obese and at least ten per cent suffer from claustrophobic fears.

There are a limited number of ‘wide bore’ scanners in Scotland. Most patients who are claustrophobic or obese are still uncomfortable in this type of scanner, which is just slightly wider than a traditional machine.

Newcastle Clinic’s open MRI scanner has no restrictive sides, so patients have plenty of space around them. It’s much quieter than other scanners, and patients can receive extra comfort by being accompanied by a friend or family member during the scan.

NHS referrals from Scotland                                                                                                                      

There’s one key difference between receiving a referral in Scotland as opposed to England – Scottish patients require a hospital referral, while English patients can request a referral from their GP or hospital consultant.

We require a referral because it is a legal requirement and it provides the necessary and carry on with your write up.

The NHS referral process is simple for Scottish patients: claustrophobic or obese patients just need to request a referral from a hospital.

Private referral from Scotland

Newcastle Clinic accepts private Scottish patients for the open MRI scanner as well as for ultrasound, or image intensification for pain relief injections. Patients will need a referral from their GP, or a hospital, consultant, physiotherapist, or other healthcare specialist for these services.

The cost of a private MRI scan varies depending on the area of the body being scanned. Patients can discuss options with their health insurance providers to determine if the cost is covered.

Your visit to Newcastle Clinic

If you are visiting the clinic from Scotland, please feel free to utilise our free parking lot, and find directions here.  It’s easy to reach us if you’re travelling by train as well: we are located near the Ilford Road metro station, which is easily accessible from the Newcastle Central train station.

Newcastle Clinic strives to provide a simple way for patients to receive comfortable, stress-free medical imaging services. We provide a friendly yet professional service to patients from across the North East, Cumbia and Scotland.

Please contact us via the live chat box, contact form, by phone on 0191 281 2636 or email [email protected] to enquire about the price of a private scan, or to learn more about the referral process to our clinic.


  • I was wondering if it is just ‘private ‘ patients that you welcome for ‘open M.R.I.’ Scanning or do you Cater for N.H.S. Patients also . This is a wonderful idea , and if ever I needed an M.R.I. Scan I would choose to go to Newcastle providing I could have it on the N.H.S. . Wonderful progression for chlostrophobic patients .thank you . Elizabeth .

    • Newcastle Clinic says:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Thank you for your comment! We do accept NHS referrals for claustrophobic patients, so if you ever need an MRI scan, keep us in mind and request a referral.

      Kind regards,

      Newcastle Clinic

  • Jill Connell says:

    I attempted an MRI today at Stracathro hospital in Scotland. The staff were lovely and tried their best but being in what felt like a toothpaste tube was one of the more terrifying situations I’ve ever been in and I’ve been in a few. I’m being referred to ninewells hospital in Dundee as their machine is slightly bigger. I have broad shoulders so could not relax my arms and I am considered obese although my weight is far below the limit for the table… How anyone heavier than me would even fit in there, I don’t know. I had about 2″in front of my face and I was told a camera would also be sliding in there. I suddenly felt very tight in my chest, breathing became difficult and my ears started popping… And I was only in there for 30 seconds without it even being switched on. Its now 6 hours later and my heart is still racing, and I just want to cry… I need the open MRI so, if I ask for a referral when I’m at ninewells, can you advise roughly how long I’d need to wait for the scan? I’m supposed to be having surgery on 22nd March to remove a tumour (suspected benign) from my parotid gland but they need to know where it lies in relation to the facial nerve.

    Or is there any other option you’re aware of which can give them that information?

    • Newcastle Clinic says:

      Hi Jill,

      We’re so sorry to hear about the stressful experience you have had. We can provide an open MRI scan within one week of receiving the referral so you should have no problem getting it done before 22 March.

      We will follow up with an email so that you can easily contact us if you have any other questions or concerns!

      Kind regards,

      Newcastle Clinic

  • kate cheek says:

    I had an MRI yesterday, except I couldn’t as I had a total panic attack. I suffer from anxiety and claustrophobia generally and I just could not do it. I felt I was being suffocated. Technician was not very accommodating and after 5 attempts where eventually the emergency buzzer failed as well, I feel totally traumatised. Yet I really need this scan as I have numb left hand and fingers and neck problems, balance issues. I am in Scottish Highlands, how do I go about getting a referral via NHS as I am disabled but not quite in pension category yet. I am female 62 years old.

    • Newcastle Clinic says:

      Hi Kate,
      We sent you an email regarding this enquiry on 1 April and hope you have been able to arrange your referral to the open MRI.
      Kind regards,
      Newcastle Clinic

  • Terence Collins says:

    I have been affected during an MRI scan by anaphylactic shock due to the Iodine based Indicator that is injected for MRI scans. Subsequent scans made without the injected revealer appeared to me to be just as clear as the first one done with the indicator. Perhaps it might be useful to consider this as well as the claustrophobic reaction of patients like Jill Connell above.

  • Val says:

    About 5 years ago, I was admitted to hospital for about a week to undergo a barrage of tests aimed at diagnosing my medical condition. I have spinal stenosis, hip, knee and foot issues along with a neurological / autoimmune condition. My lower right leg and foot twist in a way that made it impossible for me to be fed into the scanner so I was given Diazepam and the technician tied my feet together in order to allow my body to be fed in to the scanner. This put an intolerable strain on my back and I had to request a break. I enquired if I could break off to take a short walk to try to loosen my muscles but was advised that, if I needed time for a break, they would have to ask me to return another day as the MRI scanner in another hospital had broken down and they had agreed to carry out scans for the other hospital and could not afford to fall behind. I returned to the machine where I spent another agonising 20 minutes so you will understand why I would be anxious about repeating the procedure. At that point, white intensities were discovered on my brain. I am keen to find out what the current state of play is with regard to these intensities. I discussed the feasibility of a further MRI scan with my neurologist today. He advised that, to carry out an MRI on me, could be traumatic and that anaesthesia would be the only way my body could be relaxed sufficiently for it to go in to the machine but that that might not be acceptable to the radiologists etc. I remembered having heard of upright mri scanners so searched on-line and discovered your information and wondered if this might provide a solution. I live in Scotland and note this can be done through an NHS referral or privately. If being done privately, do you still require a referral?
    Could you provide an idea of the fee for a brain scan and for other parts of the body – eg: spine / hips / knees / feet / full body scan etc.
    Your advice on these points would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you.

    • Newcastle Clinic says:

      Hello Val,

      We’re so sorry to hear about your experience in the closed MRI, but we think that the open MRI should be a much better experience for you. We will send you an email with some more information and to discuss the referral process.

      Kind regards,

      Newcastle Clinic