Aims: To assess the effect of the provider (GPs versus hospital) on the compliance in returning the faecal occult blood test. To analyse the characteristics of the GP associated with high compliance among his beneficiaries.
Methods: A questionnaire about screening attitudes was mailed to the 1192 GPs working in 13 districts of the Lazio region. We asked the GPs to participate in a randomised trial, we sampled 130 GPs and about 1/10 of the GPs' 50-75 year old beneficiaries (n = 3657) were invited to be screened at the GP office and 1/10 (3675) at the nearest gastroenterology centre.
Results: 58.5% of the GPs completed the questionnaire and 22.7% agreed to participate in the trial. The compliance in the GP arm was 50%, in the hospital arm 16% (RR 3.4; 95% CI: 3.13-3.70). There was a high variability in the compliance obtained by the GPs. GPs with more than 25 patients visited/day and those incorrectly recommended screening of colorectal cancer obtained a lower compliance (OR 0.74, 95% CI: 0.57-0.95 and OR 0.76, 95% CI: 0.59-0.97, respectively).
Conclusions: The involvement of GPs in colorectal cancer screening can be very effective to enhance the compliance, but the effectiveness is dependent on their willingness to be involved.