Journal of Primary Health Care Journal of Primary Health Care Society
Journal of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

A repeat audit of primary care management of group A streptococcal pharyngitis in Northland, New Zealand 2016

Anil Shetty 1 , Clair Mills 1 , Kyle Eggleton 2
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

1 Public and Population Health, Northland District Health Board, Whangarei, New Zealand

2 Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Correspondence to: Anil Shetty, Public and Population Health Unit, Northland District Health Board, PB 9742, Whangarei 0148, New Zealand. Email: anil.shetty@northlanddhb.org.nz

Journal of Primary Health Care 10(1) 18-24 https://doi.org/10.1071/HC17056
Published: 29 March 2018

Journal Compilation © Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners 2018.
This is an open access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: One of the New Zealand Government’s Better Public Services targets was to reduce the rate of acute rheumatic fever (ARF) nationally by two-thirds by 2017. Māori children and young people are disproportionately affected by ARF in the Northland District Health Board region. General practice contributes to ARF prevention in detecting and appropriately treating group A streptococcal (GAS) pharyngitis. An audit in 2012 suggested improvements in adherence to national guidelines were needed.

AIM: The aim was to reassess general practice adherence to national guidelines for the management of GAS pharyngitis in Northland, New Zealand, following implementation of the national Rheumatic Fever Prevention Programme.

METHODS: Throat swab and dispensing data were obtained and analysed for children and young people aged 3–20 years who attended general practice in Northland between 1 April and 31 July 2016 and had laboratory-proven GAS pharyngitis.

RESULTS: Between 2012 and 2016, the number of throat swabs carried out in general practice more than doubled, and amoxicillin was more commonly prescribed. The proportion of GAS pharyngitis patients in general practice not receiving recommended antibiotics, or receiving an inadequate length of treatment or no prescription, has not reduced. There are significant differences in the management of care for Māori and non-Māori patients, with much higher risk of ARF for Māori.

Discussion: The management of GAS pharyngitis by general practice in Northland remains substandard. Implicit bias may contribute to inequity. Focused engagement with identified subgroups of general practices and practitioners who disproportionately contribute to non-guideline prescribing should be further investigated.

KEYWORDS: Pharyngitis; prevention and control; primary health care; rheumatic fever; school health services; Streptococcus pyogenes


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