Gout Stop is one of three service projects Mahitahi Hauora is leading as part of our Long-Term Conditions programme.
Mahitahi Hauora’s enrolled population has the highest prevalence of gout of any PHO in Aotearoa New Zealand. Prevalence is particularly high among Māori and Pacific people. Less than half (43%) of gout patients in Tai Tokerau regularly receive urate-lowering medications, and hospitalisation rates for gout are high (7.8 per 1,000).
Gout is painful and can affect patients’ quality of life. In addition, there is significant correlation between uncontrolled gout, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Gout management often focuses on controlling patient symptoms while the risk of irreversible joint damage and negative health outcomes, particularly for Māori and Pacific peoples, continues to grow.
Māori often do not get the care they need due to access barriers and stigma associated with a misperception that gout is caused by poor diet and excessive drinking. In fact, gout is about 90% genetic, and Māori and Pacific people are more at risk because they often have genes that predispose them to gout.
Mahitahi Hauora has provided the Gout Stop programme, which supports general practices and pharmacies to treat and manage gout, for some time. However, we think it could be performing better. As part of the Long-Term Conditions programme, we are reinvigorating and improving the original Gout Stop pathway. The project will also tackle the stigma around gout and use a registered nurse to coordinate patient care and enhance patient experiences.
Clinicians are encouraged to prescribe Gout Stop for patients presenting with two acute flares of gout within 12 months. As part of the improvements to the Gout Stop programme, there will be a financial incentive for practices to complete the 3-month follow-up of patients who have been prescribed Gout Stop.
You can find more information about the Gout Stop pathway on Northland HealthPathways. We expect to update this pathway by the end of 2023, once our improvement project is complete.
As part of this project, we want to understand how Gout Stop is working for our general practices and pharmacies. We’ll soon be inviting you to participate in a survey – keep an eye out for the survey link.