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Using Specialist Screening Practitioners (SSPs) to increase uptake of the Bowel Scope (Flexible Sigmoidoscopy) Screening Programme: A study protocol for a feasibility single-stage phase II trial

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Colin Rees



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2016 The Author(s). Background: The NHS Bowel Scope Screening (BSS) programme offers men and women aged 55 years a once-only flexible sigmoidoscopy (FS), a test that can help reduce colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence and mortality. However, the benefits of BSS are contingent on uptake. This National Institute for Health Research-funded single-stage phase II trial will test the feasibility of using patient navigation (PN), an intervention that offers support to patients to overcome barriers to healthcare, to increase BSS uptake within a socially deprived area of England. Methods/design: All individuals invited for BSS at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust during the 6-month recruitment period will be invited to take part in the study. Consenting participants will be randomised to receive PN or usual care in a 2:1 ratio. PN involves non-attenders receiving a phone call from a Specialist Screening Practitioner (SSP) who will elicit reasons for non-attendance and offer educational, practical, and emotional support as needed. If requested by the patient, another appointment for BSS will then be arranged. We anticipate 30 % of participants will be non-attenders. Using A'Hern single-stage design, with 20 % significance level and 80 % power, at least 35 participants who receive PN need to subsequently attend for PN to be considered worthy of further investigation in a definitive trial. The primary outcome measure will be the number of participants in the PN group who re-book and attend their BSS appointment. A qualitative analysis of the PN transcripts, and interviews with the SSPs, will also be conducted, alongside a quantitative analysis of completed patient-reported experience questionnaires. An economic analysis will calculate the costs of delivering PN. Discussion: This feasibility study will be instrumental in deciding whether to conduct the first definitive trial of PN in BSS in England. If PN is subsequently shown to be cost-effective at increasing uptake of BSS, NHS policies could be modified to implement PN as a standard service. The results will be disseminated in peer-reviewed journals and at scientific conferences.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McGregor LM, Skrobanski H, Miller H, Ritchie M, Berkman L, Morris S, Rees C, von Wagner C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Pilot and Feasibility Studies

Year: 2016

Volume: 2

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 14/09/2016

Acceptance date: 12/08/2016

Date deposited: 23/01/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2055-5784

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.


DOI: 10.1186/s40814-016-0093-8


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