Screening for unrecognised heart valve disease

Booking the appointment and getting there

Recent improvements in scanning equipment have made it possible to get high quality pictures of the heart using mobile equipment. This means heart valve screening can now be done in local GP surgeries, and the research study is looking at the advantages and disadvantages of this.
Some people we talked to remembered being asked to ring their local surgery to book their first screening appointment. This was generally easy to do and there was a choice of appointment slots. Others remembered being sent an appointment time but being able to change the date if it did not suit them. In some cases people were asked when they rang if anyone else in the household was in the right age group and would also like to attend (see ‘Being invited for screening).
All the participants in the study are over 65, so fixing a day time appointment did not present many problems. As George said, “Any time nowadays can be virtually convenient, because, let’s face it, time is now my own.” Fraser and Cathy rang to get two appointments together and said, “We just wrapped it up with a trip to the supermarket or something like that. It was easily done.”
We asked people how they felt about having something like this in their local surgery. For some this just seemed normal or routine.
Often people were pleasantly surprised to hear that a specialist service like this was happening locally. This made it much easier for them to get to than a hospital appointment, and some could even walk to their surgery. Having to get to hospital might have put some people off, particularly if they had to use public transport, though others said they would probably have gone wherever it was. However, some people who decided not to take part in the study have told the research team that it was because they did not want to travel to and from appointments.

Last reviewed August 2016.


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