A randomised trial of general practitioner-written invitations to encourage attendance at screening mammography

Community Health Stud. 1990;14(4):357-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.1990.tb00046.x.


The aim of this study was to examine the effectiveness of general practitioner-written invitations to the Breast X-Ray Programme of the Central Sydney Area Health Service. Five out of six randomly selected general practices in Drummoyne participated. Within each practice, women aged 45 to 70 were individually randomised to receive or not receive a letter from their general practitioner (GP). Thirty-two per cent of women attended if invited compared to 7 per cent if they were not sent an invitation. An attendance of 38 per cent was obtained for women whose GP chose to send a letter with an appointment compared to 24 per cent for women whose GP chose to send a general invitation without an appointment. Combining all practices, women who consulted their GP within the previous 6 months were more likely to attend in response to the invitation (38 per cent) than women whose last consultation was more remote, dropping to 15 per cent in those who last attended that GP over 2 years earlier. Women aged 65 to 70 years old were at least as likely to respond to the invitation as women aged 45 to 64. Reminder letters were subsequently sent to a random half of nonrespondents who had attended the practice in the previous 12 months. A further 18 per cent of women attended after the reminder letter was sent (8/45), compared with 2 per cent in the control group (1/48). Twenty-seven per cent of women in Drummoyne had already attended for screening mammography before the trial.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammography*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*