Objectives: To document the factors associated with general practitioner (GP) use of Pap smear reminder/recall systems and to canvass options for coordinating these GP-based systems with similar centrally based schemes.
Methods: A questionnaire survey of a random sample of South Australian GPs.
Results: 259 (78%) of 334 GPs returned questionnaires. 117 (45.2%) GPs had practice-based reminder/recall systems, with a higher prevalence among metropolitan GPs with a computer and who had been in practice for less than 20 years. 91.9% of GPs reported that the central register would be of some help in ensuring regular cervical screening. 38.2% of the GPs preferred reminder letters from the register to be sent to their practice; 27.8% preferred them to be sent directly to women and 22.8% opted for letters to be sent from the register via the laboratories to their practice. 61.4% of respondents had a method of recording women with abnormal smears and 95.6% of these actively recalled such women.
Conclusion: Substantial variation exists in the use of practice-based reminder/recall systems among GPs. A central register would assist most GPs by providing a back-up reminder service to follow-up women for cervical screening.