STUDY OBJECTIVE: The assessment of the uptake of colorectal cancer screening offered in a workplace setting. DESIGN: Employees were offered a free faecal occult blood test (Haemoccult). A repeat letter was sent two months later to non-responders. Those with positive tests were invited for colonoscopy. Compliance was measured according to age, sex, and occupational group and the effects of reinviting non-compliers investigated. SETTING: Leicester General Hospital, a large university teaching hospital. PARTICIPANTS: 990 employees aged 41 to 65 years. MAIN RESULTS: Total compliance was 46% with women participating more than men (49% v 34%, chi 2 = 12.2, p < 0.001). The difference was mostly because of women aged 41 to 50 years complying more than their male counterparts (48% v 24%, chi 2 = 15.5, p < 0.0001). Participation was highest in clinical support staff (56%), nurses (52%), and clerical workers (46%). Uptake by doctors (26%) and managers (26%) was significantly lower than by clinical support staff and nurses (chi 2 > 5.5, p < 0.02). Remailing raised compliance slightly from 43.6% to 46.3%. Four employees (1%) had positive faecal occult blood tests but three were negative on repeat testing with dietary restrictions. CONCLUSIONS: The government favours the development of health promotion programmes as stated in its document "Health at work in the NHS". The response in this study, showed methods to increase compliance must be developed if such programmes are to be successful. As uptake was similar to that in several community based programmes in general practice, workplace based programmes could offer a complementary method of delivering screening.
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