Patients' willingness to attend the NHS cardiovascular health checks in primary care: A qualitative interview study
BMC Family Practice
BioMed Central Ltd.
© 2015 Jenkinson et al.; licensee BioMed Central. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Background: The NHS Cardiovascular Health Check (NHSHC) programme was introduced in England in 2009 to reduce cardiovascular disease mortality and morbidity for all patients aged 40 to 74 years old. Programme cost-effectiveness was based on an assumed uptake of 75% but current estimates of uptake in primary care are less than 50%. The purpose of this study was to identify factors influencing patients' willingness to attend an NHSHC. For those who attended, their views, experiences and their future willingness to engage in the programme were explored. Method: Telephone or face-to-face interviews were conducted with patients who had recently been invited for an NHSHC by a letter from four general practices in Torbay, England. Patients were purposefully sampled (by gender, age, attendance status). Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. Results: 17 attendees and 10 non-attendees were interviewed. Patients who attended an NHSHC viewed it as worthwhile. Proactive attitudes towards their health, a desire to prevent disease before they developed symptoms, and a willingness to accept screening and health check invitations motivated many individuals to attend. Non-attendees cited not seeing the NHSHC as a priority, or how it differed from regular monitoring already received for other conditions as barriers to attendance. Some non-attendees actively avoided GP practices when feeling well, while others did not want to waste health professionals' time. Misunderstandings of what the NHSHC involved and negative views of what the likely outcome might be were common. Conclusion: While a minority of non-attendees simply had made an informed choice not to have an NHSHC, improving the clarity and brevity of invitational materials, better advertising, and simple administrative interventions such as sending reminder letters, have considerable potential to improve NHSHC uptake.
This is a freely-available open access publication. Please cite the published version which is available via the DOI link in this record.
Vol. 16 (1), article 33