RM Partners is piloting a bowel screening reminder service in five west London boroughs.

Bowel screening uptake across west London ranges from 54% to as low as 36% against the national target of 60%. We commissioned Community Links, a local charity, to contact patients who have not completed the national bowel screening kit in west London within the last 12 months to answer questions they may have and encourage them to participate. This approach has been shown to improve bowel screening completion by up to 9% in other areas of London.

Community Links will work with GP practices to identify appropriate patients. It will provide practices with health facilitators, who often speak the same language as the population they serve and who will make three attempts to call patients at accessible times of the day (including evenings and weekends).

Currently patients are left to their own devices to complete the screening kit. The facilitators will discuss the screening process, explain how to use the kit, re-order one if theirs has been misplaced, and answer any questions that patients may have.

Each west London CCG will take part for up to three months, providing enough time for all eligible patients to be contacted. The project will last for one year, and it is estimated that over 85,000 calls will be made during this period.

The project was first launched in Wandsworth, and almost 4,000 calls have been made to patients in the borough with nearly 2,500 people requesting screening kits to be resent. The project has recently launched in Kingston, Merton, Richmond and Sutton with further roll out to follow.