Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care


Annual reminders for flexible sigmoidoscopy (bowel scope) screening

The main aim of this project is to test the effectiveness of an annual reminder for people who did not attend their initial appointment for bowel scope screening. People aged 55 have a 5 year window in which they can self-refer to have the test. We have developed a leaflet together with St Mark's screening centre and a social marketing company (Resonant). An initial feasibility study found that sending a 12 month reminder resulted in 15% of previous no-responders self-referring and attending an appointment for bowel scope screening. Since then we have conducted a RCT comparing usual care (no reminder), a reminder with our social marketing leaflet and a reminder with the standard leaflet. We found that a locally tailored social marketing leaflet outperforms the standard leaflet and that both intervention groups resulted in significantly more self-referrals than usual care. More recently we have concluded a 24 months follow up reminder and to date 190 additional people (out of just over 100 patients invited since the start of the feasibility study) have attended bowel scope screening at St Mark's. We are currently planning further studies evaluating the role of GP endorsement and offering a same-sex practitioner and are discussing more widespread implementation of the reminders in other screening centres. 

This project is funded from September 2013 to September 2017. 

Principal investigator: Dr Christian von Wagner

Contact: Robert Kerrison (r.kerrison[at]ucl.ac.uk)