Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on primary care delivery in a remote Aboriginal community

Hamilton, Yasuchiyo, Cairns, Alice, and Jones, Rhondda (2023) Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on primary care delivery in a remote Aboriginal community. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 29 (5). pp. 416-421.

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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted the delivery of primary health care internationally, particularly for the most marginalised groups. This project investigated the impact of the initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic on the delivery of primary health care in a remote First Nations community in Far North Queensland with a high chronic disease burden. There were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 circulating in the community at the time of the study. A comparison was conducted of patient numbers presenting to a local primary healthcare centre (PHCC) in the periods before, during and after the initial peak of Australian COVID-19 restrictions in 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. A significant proportional decrease was observed in the number of patients that presented from the target community during the initial restrictions. A sub-analysis of preventative services delivered to a defined high-risk group found that services delivered did not decrease to this particular group during the periods of interest. This study has highlighted that there is a risk of underutilisation of primary healthcare services during a health pandemic in remote settings. Strengthening the primary care system to adequately provide ongoing services during natural disasters requires further consideration to reduce the risk of long-term impacts of service disengagement.

Item ID: 81077
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1836-7399
Keywords: chronic disease management, community health, First Nations, Indigenous, pandemic, preventative health, public health services, rural health, telehealth, Torres Strait Islander
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Published by CSIRO Publishing on behalf of La Trobe University. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY).
Date Deposited: 29 Feb 2024 01:48
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420321 Rural and remote health services @ 20%
45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4504 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing > 450418 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander remote health @ 80%
SEO Codes: 21 INDIGENOUS > 2103 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health > 210303 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health system performance @ 100%
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