Lay interest in vitamin D and the potential benefits of supplementation is considerable, but little information exists concerning lay knowledge, beliefs and attitudes towards vitamin D to inform public health initiatives and professional guidance.
Qualitative focus group study.
58 adults capturing diversity in disease status, gender, age and ethnicity.
A large general practice in east London.
Many respondents lacked knowledge about vitamin D, including dietary sources and government recommendations. Most were positive about sun exposure, but confused by ambiguous health messages about risks and benefits of sunshine. Medicalised views of vitamin D were prominent, notably from those in favour of supplementation, who talked of “doses”, “side effects” and “regular testing.” Fortification of food with vitamin D was controversial, with opposing utilitarian (better overall for the majority) and libertarian (freedom to choose) views.
Knowledge about vitamin D was limited. Clearer messages are needed about risks and benefits of sun exposure. Testing and supplementation by health professionals, while potentially useful in some high-risk groups, have contributed to a medicalised view of vitamin D. Health policy should address the public's need for clear information on sources and effects of vitamin D, including risks and benefits of sun exposure, and take account of divergent views on fortification. Professional guidance is needed on testing and supplementation to counter inappropriate medicalisation.
PRIMARY CARE; PUBLIC HEALTH; QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
The public health burden of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage kidney disease is a national priority and is the subject of recent guidelines. In the UK, ethnic minority groups are over-represented in the renal replacement population (17.8%) compared with the white population (11%).
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a preventable cause of renal damage. Previous studies suggest a prescribing prevalence between 9% and 36% among those with CKD, but have not examined differences by ethnic group.
Design and setting
Cross-sectional survey of 12 011 patients with identified CKD (stages 3–5) in the three PCTs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney, and Newham.
Assessment of NSAID prescribing rates in a multi-ethnic, socially-deprived population, using descriptive and multivariate analysis.
NSAIDs were prescribed for 11.1% of patients with CKD in the year prior to November 2012. Prescribing rates decreased stepwise by stage of renal impairment. Using daily defined dosages this study shows that in comparison with white groups both South Asian and black groups are much less likely to be in the top decile of NSAID prescribing, hence the overall prescribing load will be less: (odds ratio [OR] for South Asians = 0.34, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.22 to 0.54, OR for black groups = 0.34, 95% CI = 0.19 to 0.63).
National rates of NSAID prescribing continue to rise, and over-the-counter sales remain unmonitored, despite longstanding concerns about renal outcomes. Prescribing patterns indicate that GPs reduce prescribing as CKD progresses. Differential use of NSAIDs by ethnic group is unlikely to contribute to the high rates of end-stage kidney disease in ethnic minority groups.
chronic kidney disease; ethnicity; general practice; NSAID prescribing
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a cause of stroke, and undertreatment with anticoagulants is a persistent issue despite their effectiveness.
To increase the proportion of people with AF treated appropriately using anticoagulants, and reduce inappropriate antiplatelet therapy.
Design of study
Electronic patient health records on 4604 patients with AF obtained from general practices in three inner London primary care trusts between April 2011 and 2013.
The Anticoagulant Programme East London (APEL) sought to achieve its aims through an intervention with three components: altering professional beliefs using new clinical guidance and related education; facilitating change using computer software to support clinical decisions and patient review optimising anticoagulation; motivating change through evaluative feedback showing individual practice performance relative to peers.
From April 2011 to April 2013, the proportion of people with CHA2DS2-VASc ≥1 on anticoagulants increased from 52.6% to 59.8% (trend difference P<0.001). The proportion of people with CHA2DS2-VASc ≥1 on aspirin declined from 37.7% to 30.3% (trend difference P<0.001). Comparing the 2 years before the intervention with the 2 years after, numbers of new people on the AF register almost doubled from 108 to 204.
The APEL programme supports improvement in clinical managing AF by a combined programme of education around agreed guidance, computer aids to facilitate decision-making and patient review and feedback of locally identifiable results. If replicated nationally over 3 years, such a programme could result in approximately 1600 fewer strokes every year.
anticoagulants; atrial fibrillation; clinical decision support systems; patterns; prescribing; primary health care; stroke
System redesign is described in one primary care trust (PCT)/clinical commissioning group (CCG) resulting in improved cardiovascular disease (CVD) management.
To evaluate CVD managed practice networks in one entire local health economy using practice networks, compared with PCTs in London, England, and local PCTs.
Design and setting
Observational study of 34 general practices in Tower Hamlets, a socially disadvantaged inner-London borough.
In 2009, all 34 practices were allocated to eight geographical networks of four to five practices, each serving 30 000–50 000 patients. Each network had a network manager, administrative support, and an educational budget to deliver financially-incentivised attainment targets in four care packages of which CVD comprised one.
In 2009/11, Tower Hamlets increased total statin prescribing (ADQ-STAR PU) by 17.9% compared with 5.5% in England (P<0.001). Key CVD indicators improved faster in Tower Hamlets than in England, London, or local PCTs, and in 2012/13, Tower Hamlets ranked top in the national Quality and Outcomes Framework for blood pressure and cholesterol control in coronary heart disease (CHD) and diabetes, top five for stroke and top in London for all these measures. Male mortality from CHD was fourth highest in England in 2008 and reduced more than any other PCT in the next 3 years; reducing by 43% compared with an average fall of 25% for the top 10 PCTs in 2008 ranked by mortality.
Managed geographical practice networks delivered a step-change in key CVD performance indicators in comparison with England, London, or similar PCT/CCGs.
cardiovascular diseases; clinical decision support systems; disease management; general practice; health services; prescribing patterns
Molecular guided oncology surgery has the potential to transform the way decisions about resection are done, and can be critically important in areas such as neurosurgery where the margins of tumor relative to critical normal tissues are not readily apparent from visual or palpable guidance. Yet there are major financial barriers to advancing agents into clinical trials with commercial backing. We observe that development of these agents in the standard biological therapeutic paradigm is not viable, due to the high up front financial investment needed and the limitations in the revenue models of contrast agents for imaging. The hypothesized solution to this problem is to develop small molecular biologicals tagged with an established fluorescent reporter, through the chemical agent approval pathway, targeting a phase 0 trials initially, such that the initial startup phase can be completely funded by a single NIH grant. In this way, fast trials can be completed to de-risk the development pipeline, and advance the idea of fluorescence-guided surgery (FGS) reporters into human testing. As with biological therapies the potential successes of each agent are still moderate, but this process will allow the field to advance in a more stable and productive manner, rather than relying upon isolated molecules developed at high cost and risk. The pathway proposed and tested here uses peptide synthesis of an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-binding Affibody molecules, uniquely conjugated to IRDye 800CW, developed and tested in academic and industrial laboratories with well-established records for GMP production, fill & finish, toxicity testing, and early phase clinical trials with image guidance.
surgery; guidance; fluorescence; emission; filter; luminescence; intervention; cancer; oncology; Affibody
To describe implementation and results from the National Health Service (NHS) Health Check programme.
Three-year observational open cohort study: 2009–2011.
People of age 40–74 years eligible for an NHS Health Check.
139/143 general practices in three east London primary care trusts (PCTs) serving an ethnically diverse and socially disadvantaged population.
Implementation was supported with education, IT support and performance reports. Tower Hamlets PCT additionally used managed practice networks and prior-stratification to call people at higher cardiovascular (CVD) risk first.
Main outcomes measures
Attendance, proportion of high-risk population on statins and comorbidities identified.
Coverage 2009, 2010, 2011 was 33.9% (31 878/10 805), 60.6% (30 757/18 652) and 73.4% (21 194/28 890), respectively. Older people were more likely to attend than younger people. Attendance was similar across deprivation quintiles and was in accordance with population distributions of black African/Caribbean, South Asian and White ethnic groups. 1 in 10 attendees were at high-CVD risk (20% or more 10-year risk). In the two PCTs stratifying risk, 14.3% and 9.4% of attendees were at high-CVD risk compared to 8.6% in the PCT using an unselected invitation strategy. Statin prescription to people at high-CVD risk was higher in Tower Hamlets 48.9%, than in City and Hackney 23.1% or Newham 20.2%. In the 6 months following an NHS Health Check, 1349 new cases of hypertension, 638 new cases of diabetes and 89 new cases of chronic kidney disease (CKD) were diagnosed. This represents 1 new case of hypertension per 38 Checks, 1 new case of diabetes per 80 Checks and 1 new case of CKD per 568 Checks.
Implementation of the NHS Health Check programme in these localities demonstrates limited success. Coverage and treatment of those at high-CVD risk could be improved. Targeting invitations to people at high-CVD risk and managed practice networks in Tower Hamlets improved performance.
PREVENTIVE MEDICINE; PRIMARY CARE; PUBLIC HEALTH
Quality in healthcare has many potential meanings and interpretations. The case has been made for conceptualisations of quality that place more emphasis on describing quality and less on measuring it through structured, vertically oriented metrics. Through discussion of an interdisciplinary community arts project we explore and challenge the dominant reductionist meanings of quality in healthcare.
The model for structured participatory arts workshops such as ours is ‘art as conversation’. In creating textile art works, women involved in the sewing workshops engaged at a personal level, developing confidence through sharing ideas, experiences and humour. Group discussions built on the self-assurance gained from doing craft work together and talking in a relaxed way with a common purpose, exploring the health themes which were the focus of the art. For example, working on a textile about vitamin D created a framework which stimulated the emergence of a common discourse about different cultural practices around ‘going out in the sun’. These conversations have value as ‘bridging work’, between the culture of medicine, with its current emphasis on lifestyle change to prevent illness, and patients’ life worlds. Such bridges allow for innovation and flexibility to reflect local public health needs and community concerns. They also enable us to view care from a horizontally oriented perspective, so that the interface in which social worlds and the biomedical model meet and interpenetrate is made visible.
Through this interdisciplinary art project involving academics, health professionals and the local community we have become more sensitised to conceptualising one aspect of health care quality as ensuring a ‘space for the story’ in health care encounters. This space gives precedence to the patient narratives, but acknowledges the importance of enabling clinicians to have time to share stories about care.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12875-015-0233-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Primary care; Art; Social prescribing; Community development
Liver disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Large numbers of liver function tests (LFTs) are performed in primary care, with abnormal liver biochemistry a common finding. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver injury. Metabolic syndrome, common in people from South Asia, is an important risk factor for NAFLD.
It is hypothesised that a large gap exists between numbers of patients with abnormal LFTs and those with recorded liver diagnoses, and that NAFLD is more common among adults of South Asian ethnic groups.
Design and setting
A cross-sectional study of 690 683 adults in coterminous general practices in a region with high ethnic diversity.
Data were extracted on LFTs, liver disease, and process of care measures from computerised primary care medical records.
LFTs were performed on 218 032 patients, of whom 31 627 had elevated serum transaminases. The prevalence of abnormal LFTs was highest among individuals of Bangladeshi ethnicity. Of the patients with abnormal LFTs, 88.4% did not have a coded liver diagnosis. NAFLD was the most frequently recorded liver disease and was most common among Bangladeshi patients. In a multivariate analysis, independent risk factors for NAFLD included Bangladeshi ethnicity, diabetes, raised BMI, hypertension, and hypercholesterolaemia.
Abnormal LFTs are common in the population, but are underinvestigated and often remain undiagnosed. Bangladeshi ethnicity is an important independent risk factor for NAFLD.
ethnicity; liver; liver disease; NAFLD; population
In clinical trials of dabigatran and rivaroxaban for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation (AF), drug eligibility and dosing were determined using the Cockcroft-Gault equation to estimate creatine clearance as a measure of renal function. This cross-sectional study aimed to compare whether using estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) by the widely available and widely used Modified Diet in Renal Disease (MDRD) equation would alter prescribing or dosing of the renally excreted new oral anticoagulants.
Of 4712 patients with known AF within a general practitioner-registered population of 930 079 in east London, data were available enabling renal function to be calculated by both Cockcroft-Gault and MDRD methods in 4120 (87.4%).
Of 4120 patients, 2706 were <80 years and 1414 were ≥80 years of age. Among those ≥80 years, 14.9% were ineligible for dabigatran according to Cockcroft-Gault equation but would have been judged eligible applying MDRD method. For those <80 years, 0.8% would have been incorrectly judged eligible for dabigatran and 5.3% would have received too high a dose. For rivaroxaban, 0.3% would have been incorrectly judged eligible for treatment and 13.5% would have received too high a dose.
Were the MDRD-derived eGFR to be used instead of Cockcroft-Gault in prescribing these new agents, many elderly patients with AF would either incorrectly become eligible for them or would receive too high a dose. Safety has not been established using the MDRD equation, a concern since the risk of major bleeding would be increased in patients with unsuspected renal impairment. Given the potentially widespread use of these agents, particularly in primary care, regulatory authorities and drug companies should alert UK doctors of the need to use the Cockcroft-Gault formula to calculate eligibility for and dosing of the new oral anticoagulants in elderly patients with AF and not rely on the MDRD-derived eGFR.
Patients with serious mental illness (SMI) have high rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD). In contrast to widespread perception, their access to effective chronic disease management is as high as for the general population. However, previous studies have not included analysis by ethnicity.
To identify differences in CVD and diabetes management, by ethnicity, among people with SMI.
Design and setting
Three inner east London primary care trusts with an ethnically diverse and socially deprived population. Data were obtained from 147 of 151 general practices.
Coded demographic and clinical data were obtained from GP electronic health records using EMIS Web. The sample used was the GP registered population on diabetes or CVD registers (52 620); of these, 1223 also had SMI.
The population prevalence of CVD and diabetes is 7.2%; this rises to 18% among those with SMI. People with SMI and CVD or diabetes were found to be as likely to achieve clinical targets as those without SMI. Blood pressure control was significantly better in people with SMI; however, they were more likely to smoke and have a body mass index above 30 kg/m2. Ethnic differences in care were identified, with south Asian individuals achieving better cholesterol control and black African or Caribbean groups achieving poorer blood pressure control.
Risk factor management for those with SMI shows better control of blood pressure and glycosylated haemoglobin than the general population. However, smoking and obesity rates remain high and should be the target of public health programmes. Ethnic differences in management mirror those in the general population. Ethnic monitoring for vulnerable groups provides evidence to support schemes to reduce health inequalities.
cardiovascular diseases; diabetes mellitus; ethnicity; health; inequalities; mental disorders; primary care
To compare the rate of progression of diabetic chronic kidney disease in different ethnic groups.
Prospective longitudinal observational study.
All new patients attending a tertiary renal unit in east London with diabetic chronic kidney disease between 2000 and 2007 and followed up till 2009 were included. Patients presenting with acute end-stage kidney failure were excluded.
Main outcome measures
The primary outcome was annual decline in the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in different ethnic groups. Secondary end points were the number of patients developing end-stage kidney failure and total mortality during the study period.
329 patients (age 60±11.9 years, 208 men) were studied comprising 149 south Asian, 105 White and 75 Black patients. Mean follow-up was 6.0±2.3, 5.0±2.7 and 5.6±2.4 years for White, Black and south Asian patients, respectively. South Asian patients were younger and had a higher baseline eGFR, but both systolic and diastolic blood pressures were higher in Black patients (p<0.05). Baseline proteinuria was highest for the south Asian group followed by the White and Black groups. Adjusted linear regression analysis showed that an annual decline in eGFR was not significantly different between the three groups. The numbers of patients developing end-stage kidney failure and total mortality were also not significantly different between the three groups. ACE or angiotensin receptor blockers use, and glycated haemoglobin were similar at baseline and throughout the study period.
We conclude that ethnicity is not an independent factor in the rate of progression renal failure in patients with diabetic chronic kidney disease.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) remains a major cause of mortality and hospital use. Little is known in the UK about the variation in COPD prevalence, severity, and management depending on ethnicity.
To examine differences by ethnicity in COPD prevalence, severity, and management.
Design & setting
Cross-sectional study using routinely collected computerised data from general practice in three east-London primary care trusts (Newham, Tower Hamlets, and City and Hackney) with multiethnic populations of people who are socially deprived.
Routine demographic, clinical, and hospital admission data from 140 practices were collected.
Crude COPD prevalence was 0.9%; the highest recorded rates were in the white population. Severity of COPD, measured by percentage-predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second, did not vary by ethnicity. South Asians and black patients were less likely than white patients to have breathlessness, indicated by a Medical Research Council dyspnoea grade of ≥4 (odds ratio [OR] 0.7 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.6 to 0.9] and 0.6 [95% CI = 0.4 to 0.8]). Black patients were less likely than white patients to receive inhaled medications. Influenza and pneumococcal vaccine rates were highest among groups of South Asians (OR 3.0 [95% CI = 2.1 to 4.3] and 1.8 [95% CI = 1.4 to 2.3] respectively). Both minority ethnic groups had low referral rates to pulmonary rehabilitation. In Tower Hamlets, black patients were more likely to be admitted to hospital for respiratory causes.
Differences in COPD prevalence and severity by ethnicity were identified, and significant differences in drug and non-drug management and hospital admissions observed. Systematic ethnicity recording in general practice is needed to be able to explore such differences and monitor inequalities in healthcare by ethnicity.
chronic disease management; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; ethnicity; general practice; health inequalities
To assess whether in people with poorly controlled type 2 diabetes (HbA1c>7.5%) improvement in HbA1c varies by ethnic and social group.
Prospective 2-year cohort of type 2 diabetes treated in general practice.
Setting and participants
All patients with type 2 diabetes in 100 of the 101 general practices in two London boroughs. The sample consisted of an ethnically diverse group with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes aged 37–71 years in 2007 and with HbA1c recording in 2008–2009.
Change from baseline HbA1c in 2007 and achievement of HbA1c control in 2008 and 2009 were estimated for each ethnic, social and treatment group using multilevel modelling.
The sample consisted of 6104 people; 18% were white, 63% south Asian, 16% black African/Caribbean and 3% other ethnic groups. HbA1c was lower after 1 and 2 years in all ethnic groups but south Asian people received significantly less benefit from each diabetes treatment. After adjustment, south Asian people were found to have 0.14% less reduction in HbA1c compared to white people (95% CI 0.04% to 0.24%) and white people were 1.6 (95% CI 1.2 to 2.0) times more likely to achieve HbA1c controlled to 7.5% or less relative to south Asian people. HbA1c reduction and control in black African/Caribbean and white people did not differ significantly. There was no evidence that social deprivation influenced HbA1c reduction or control in this cohort.
In all treatment groups, south Asian people with poorly controlled diabetes are less likely to achieve controlled HbA1c, with less reduction in mean HbA1c than white or black African/Caribbean people.
diabetes & endocrinology; primary care; therapeutics; public health
To determine whether ethnic group differences in glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) changed over a 5-year period in people on medication for type 2 diabetes.
Open cohort in 2004–9.
Electronic records of 100 of the 101 general practices in two inner London boroughs.
People aged 35 to 74 years on medication for type 2 diabetes.
Main outcome measures
Mean HbA1c and proportion with HbA1c controlled to ≤7.5%.
In this cohort of 24,111 people, 22% were White, 58% South Asian and 17% Black African/Caribbean. From 2004 to 2009 mean HbA1c improved from 8.2% to 7.8% for White, from 8.5% to 8.0% for Black African/Caribbean and from 8.5% to 8.0% for South Asian people. The proportion with HbA1c controlled to 7.5% or less, increased from 44% to 56% in White, 38% to 53% in Black African/Caribbean and 34% to 48% in South Asian people. Ethnic group and social deprivation were independently associated with HbA1c. South Asian and Black African/Caribbean people were treated more intensively than White people.
HbA1c control improved for all ethnic groups between 2004–9. However, South Asian and Black African/Caribbean people had persistently worse control despite more intensive treatment and significantly more improvement than White people. Higher social deprivation was independently associated with worse control.
Multimorbidity is common in primary care populations. Within cardiovascular disease, important differences in disease prevalence and risk factor management by ethnicity are recognised.
To examine the population burden of cardiovascular multimorbidity and the management of modifiable risk factors by ethnicity.
Design and setting
Cross-sectional study of general practices (148/151) in the east London primary care trusts of Tower Hamlets, City and Hackney, and Newham, with a total population size of 843 720.
Using MIQUEST, patient data were extracted from five cardiovascular registers. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the risk of being multimorbid by ethnic group, and the control of risk factors by ethnicity and burden of cardiovascular multimorbidity.
The crude prevalence of cardiovascular multimorbidity among patients with at least one cardiovascular condition was 34%. People of non-white ethnicity are more likely to be multimorbid than groups of white ethnicity, with adjusted odds ratios of 2.04 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.94 to 2.15) for South Asians and 1.23 (95% CI = 1.18 to 1.29) for groups of black ethnicity. Achievement of targets for blood pressure, cholesterol, and glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) was higher for patients who were multimorbid than unimorbid. For cholesterol and blood pressure, South Asian patients achieved better control than those of white and black ethnicity. For HbA1c levels, patients of white ethnicity had an advantage over other groups as the morbidity burden increased.
The burden of multiple disease varies by ethnicity. Risk factor management improves with increasing levels of cardiovascular multimorbidity, but clinically important differences by ethnicity remain and contribute to health inequalities.
cardiovascular diseases; comorbidity; ethnicity; primary care
The effect of ethnicity on the prevalence and management of hypertension and associated chronic kidney (CKD) disease in the UK is unknown.
We performed a cross sectional study of 49,203 adults with hypertension to establish the prevalence and management of hypertension and associated CKD by ethnicity. Routinely collected data from general practice hypertension registers in 148 practices in London between 1/1/07 and 31/3/08 were analysed.
The crude prevalence of hypertension was 9.5%, and by ethnicity was 8.2% for White, 11.3% for South Asian and 11.1% for Black groups. The prevalence of CKD stages 3-5 among those with hypertension was 22%. Stage 3 CKD was less prevalent in South Asian groups (OR 0.77, 95% CI 0.67 - 0.88) compared to Whites (reference population) with Black groups having similar rates to Whites. The prevalence of severe CKD (stages 4-5) was higher in the South Asian group (OR 1.53, 95% CI 1.17 - 2.0) compared to Whites, but did not differ between Black and White groups. In the whole hypertension cohort, achievement of target blood pressure (< 140/90 mmHg) was better in South Asian (OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.28 - 1.60) and worse in Black groups (OR 0.79, 95% CI 0.74 - 0.84) compared to White patients. Hypertensive medication was prescribed unequally among ethnic groups for any degree of blood pressure control.
Significant variations exist in the prevalence of hypertension and associated CKD and its management between the major ethnic groups. Among those with CKD less than 50% were treated to a target BP of ≤ 130/80 mmHg. Rates of ACE-I/ARB prescribing for those with CKD were less than optimal, with the lowest rates (58.5%) among Black groups.
blood pressure; chronic kidney disease; eGFR; hypertension; ethnicity
BACKGROUND: Immunisation against influenza is an effective intervention that reduces serologically confirmed cases by between 60% and 70%. Almost all influenza immunisation in the UK is done within general practice. Current evidence on the effectiveness of patient reminders for all types of immunisation programmes is largely based on North American studies. AIM: To determine whether telephone appointments offered bygeneral practice receptionists increase the uptake of irfluenza immunisation among the registered population aged over 65 years in east London practices. DESIGN OF STUDY: Randomised controlled trial. SETTING: Three research general practices within the East London and Essex network of researchers (ELENoR). METHOD: Participants were 1,820 low-risk patients aged 65 to 74 years who had not previously been in a recall system for influenza immunisation at their general practice. The intervention, during October 2000, was a telephone call from the practice receptionist to intervention group households, offering an appointment for influenza immunisation at a nurse-run. clinic Main outcome measures were the numbers of individuals in each group receiving immunisation, and practice costs of a telephone-appointing programme. RESULTS: intention to treat analysis showed an immunisation rate in the control group of 44%, compared with 50% in the intervention group (odds ratio = 1.29, 95% confidence interval = 1.03 to 1.63). Of the patients making a telephone appointment, 88% recieved immunisation, while 22% of those not wanting an appointment went on to be immunised. In the controlgroup, income generated was 11.35 pounds per immunisation, for each additional immunisation in the intervention group the income was 5.20 pounds. The 'number needed to telephone' was 17. CONCLUSION: Uptake of influenza immunisation among the low-risk older population in inner-city areas can be boosted by around 6% using a simple intervention by receptionists. Immunisation rates in this low-risk group fell well short of the 60% government target. Improving immunisation rates will require a sustained public health campaign. Retaining the item-of-service payments to practices should support costs of practice-based interventions.