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Keywords:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
  • Indigenous health service;
  • primary health care;
  • risk factor;
  • mass screening

Abstract

Introduction and Aims. Primary health-care services need to maximise prevention activities to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This study determined Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's risk status and screening history for cardiovascular, diabetes and cancer, and identified opportunities for prevention based on patient's health concerns.

Design and Methods. Consenting adult patients attending an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service completed interview surveys. Outcome measures were: patient's self-reported rates of smoking, at-risk alcohol consumption, body mass index and screening rates for cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure, cervical and breast cancer, the proportion of patients with multiple risk factors and health information patients prioritise to receive from their doctor.

Results. We surveyed 587 patients giving a consent rate of 77%. Patient's self-reported being at risk due to smoking (51%), harmful alcohol consumption in both short term (10%) and long term (10%), and overweight (28%) and obese (49%) body mass index. The proportion of patients who had not been screened within the recommended guidelines was 27% for cholesterol, 24% for diabetes, 40% for blood pressure, 47% for cervical cancer and 54% for breast cancer. The majority (73%) of patients had multiple risk factors. Patients prioritised receiving health information on diabetes (45%), weight (43%) and heart disease (43%).

Discussion and conclusions. Many patients were at high risk, and were concerned about the health risks they experience. Strategies are needed to help clinic staff identify risks, and maximise prevention activities according to best-practice guidelines, particularly to patients who experience multiple risk factors. [Stewart JM, Sanson-Fisher RW, Eades S, Fitzgerald M. The risk status, screening history and health concerns of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people attending an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service. Drug Alcohol Rev 2012;31:617–624]