OBJECTIVES: To establish the priorities of primary care providers to improve assessment and treatment of skin sores and sore throats among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at risk of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD).
DESIGN: Modified eDelphi survey, informed by an expert focus group and literature review.
SETTING: Primary care services in any one of the five Australian states or territories with a high burden of ARF.
PARTICIPANTS: People working in any primary care role within the last 5 years in jurisdiction with a high burden of ARF.
RESULTS: Nine people participated in the scoping expert focus group which informed identification of an access framework for subsequent literature review. Fifteen broad concepts, comprising 29 strategies and 63 different actions, were identified on this review. These concepts were presented to participants in a two-round eDelphi survey. Twenty-six participants from five jurisdictions participated, 16/26 (62%) completed both survey rounds. Seven strategies were endorsed as high priorities. Most were demand-side strategies with a focus on engaging communities and individuals in accessible, comprehensive, culturally appropriate primary healthcare. Eight strategies were not endorsed as high priority, all of which were supply-side approaches. Qualitative responses highlighted the importance of a comprehensive primary healthcare approach as standard of care rather than disease-specific strategies related to management of skin sores and sore throat.
CONCLUSION: Primary care staff priorities should inform Australia's commitments to reduce the burden of RHD. In particular, strategies to support comprehensive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary care services rather than an exclusive focus on discrete, disease-specific initiatives are needed.