Background: Screening for cardiovascular disease is an important primary preventive measure, yet research has documented that not all population groups receive the same quality of preventive healthcare.
Design: Longitudinal analysis of cardiovascular disease risk factor recording.
Methods: Data were made available from a local population-based screening programme for cardiovascular disease (1989-1999), whereby residents aged 35-60 years were invited for screening every 5 years (n=84,646). Data were recorded for major risk factors including blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, smoking status, and alcohol consumption. Completeness of risk factor recording was compared between groups in the screened population defined by gender, ethnicity (Caucasian/South Asian) and employment status (employed/unemployed).
Results: Recording of risk in the screened population was significantly less complete for women and South Asian participants over the duration of the screening programme, compared with men and Caucasian participants respectively. Conversely, recording of risk was significantly more complete for the unemployed compared with the employed participants.
Conclusions: These findings present evidence of a less systematic screening procedure for women and South Asians, whilst it seems that men, Caucasian participants and the unemployed were appropriately screened. Inequalities at the primary preventive level will likely influence outcome, because equitable identification of risk is important for the provision of successful treatment measures, and to reduce inequalities in morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular disease.