Article Text

Delivering screening programmes in primary care: protocol for a scoping and systematic mixed studies review
  1. Rakesh Narendra Modi1,
  2. Sarah Kelly2,
  3. Sarah Hoare2,
  4. Alison Powell2,
  5. Isla Kuhn3,
  6. Juliet Usher-Smith1,
  7. Jonathan Mant1,
  8. Jenni Burt2
  1. 1Primary Care Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  2. 2he Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  3. 3Medical Library, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rakesh Narendra Modi; rnm30{at}


Introduction Screening programmes represent a considerable amount of healthcare activity. As complex interventions, they require careful delivery to generate net benefit. Much screening work occurs in primary care. Despite intensive study of intervention delivery in primary care, there is currently no synthesis of the delivery of screening programmes in this setting. The purpose of this review is to describe and critically evaluate the delivery of screening programmes in general practice and community services.

Methods and analysis We will use scoping review methods to explore which components of screening programmes are delivered in primary care and systematic review methods to locate and synthesise evidence on how screening programmes can be delivered in primary care, including barriers, facilitators and strategies. We will include empirical studies of any design which consider screening programmes in high-income countries, based in part or whole in primary care. We will search 20 information sources from 1 January 2000, including those relating to health (eg, MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL), management (eg, Rx for change database) and grey literature (eg, OpenGrey, screening committee websites). Two reviewers will screen citations and full texts of potentially eligible studies and assess these against inclusion criteria. Qualitative and quantitative data will be extracted in duplicate and synthesised using a best fit framework approach. Within the systematic review, the mixed methods appraisal tool will be used to assess risk of bias.

Ethics and dissemination No ethics approval is required. We will disseminate findings to academics through publication and presentation, to decision-makers through national screening bodies, to practitioners through professional bodies, and to the public through social media.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42020215420.

  • primary care
  • public health
  • preventive medicine
  • statistics & research methods
  • health policy

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See:

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Supplementary materials


  • Twitter @rak_modi, @SarahEHoare, @ilk21

  • Contributors JB is the guarantor. RNM drafted the manuscript. All authors contributed to eligibility criteria and review methods and edited and approved the final manuscript. RNM, JB, IK and SK created the search strategy. JU-S, SH, AP, JM and JB provided expertise on screening.

  • Funding RNM’s work for this review was supported by the Wellcome Trust as part of the Wellcome Trust PhD Programme for Primary Care Clinicians (grant number 203921/Z/16/Z). SK, IK and JB were supported by the Health Foundation’s grant to the University of Cambridge for The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute. SH and AP contributed to this publications through independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research Programme (Reference Number RP-PG-0217-20007). JU-S and JM were funded by the University of Cambridge. JM is an NIHR Senior Investigator. All the funders had no involvement in the development of this protocol and will have no involvement in any aspect of the review itself. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the Wellcome Trust, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

  • Competing interests RNM, SH, AP, JM and JB are undertaking a trial of Atrial Fibrillation Screening funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.