Is the use of an invitation letter effective in prompting patients with severe mental illness to attend a primary care physical health check? Academic Article uri icon


  • Annual physical health checks are recommended for patients with severe mental illness (SMI) as this group has a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease than the rest of the general population. There is little guidance for healthcare professionals to assist them in encouraging patients to attend a health check.To explore whether an invitation appointment letter is effective in prompting patients with SMI to attend a physical health check in primary care compared with those with diabetes.A retrospective audit comparing the response rate of patients with SMI and diabetes to an appointment letter inviting them to attend a primary care health check.Two-thirds (n = 61, 66%) of the patients with SMI (n = 92) and three-quarters (n = 338, 81%) of those with diabetes (n = 416) attended the practice on the date and time stipulated in the letter. Patients with diabetes were 2.2 times more likely to attend a health check compared with those with SMI (OR = 2.20, 95% CI = 1.13-3.62).Although attendance rates were lower than in patients with diabetes, they were higher than expected from the SMI group. An invitation appointment letter is an effective way of ensuring that patients with SMI have a physical health check.

publication date

  • 2012