The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (BCSP) in England does not involve general practitioners (GPs). Uptake is ∼58%. The Practice Endorsed Additional Reminder Letter (PEARL) study piloted a GP-endorsed reminder letter.
General practices in Wessex with uptake <55% (prevalent invitations) were invited to participate. Subjects who had been invited for screening, sent a standard 28-day BCSP reminder letter but had not returned a test kit within 30 days of the standard reminder were sent a second reminder letter bearing the GP's letterhead and signature. Uptake was compared between PEARL and non-PEARL practices by standardised uptake ratio (standardised for prior prevalent uptake and other confounders). In addition, 25 non-PEARL practices were matched with PEARL practices for prior prevalent uptake and number of invitees.
Twenty-five practices agreed to participate. A total of 3149 GP-endorsed reminders were sent. Uptake in the PEARL practices was 54% compared with 51% in the matched-control practices. The adjusted RR for uptake was 1.08 (95% CI: 1.05, 1.11, P<0.001) for all invitees and 2.18 (1.79, 2.66, P<0.001) for invitees who had not returned a kit following the standard reminder.
The GP-endorsed reminder was associated with significantly increased uptake among subjects not responding to the standard reminder letter.