In a new report on gender and access to health services, the Men’s Health Forum England has made eight recommendations to improve men’s use of health services.
Commisioned by the Department of Health in autumn 2007, the Gender and Access to Health Services Study was carried out in partnership with the School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol, England. The aim was to produce 'an evidence base to help determine key gender health priorities for the Department and the NHS'.
The report recommends:
- improving the collection, recording and use of gender-disaggregated data
- prioriting research to improve the 'surprisingly poor' evidence base on the relationship between gender and use of health services.
- the rigorous enforcement of the statutory requirements under the UK’s Equality Act 2006.
- the attribution – on a trial basis – of some Quality and Outcomes Framework points for gender-equitable services.
- a national Tackling Gender Inequalities Programme.
- that the Department of and local health bodies actively seek to influence non-NHS organisations.
- at primary care level, the commissioning and gender-monitoring of initiatives in three areas:
> more flexible opening hours;
> the provision of outreach services; and
> inviting patients to attend for ‘health checks’.
- a review by the Department of the actions presently in its health inequalities strategy to ensure that they are implemented in a gender-sensitive way.
MHF policy officer David Wilkins, who co-ordinated the writing of the report and wrote the introductory essay and the conclusions, said: ‘We will only see progress when gender becomes established as an issue that belongs on the inequalities agenda along with race, disability and economic status. This report will, by making a major contribution to our knowledge base, make it more likely that that will happen.’
The study looked at the statistical and epidemiological data, reviewed the academic literature and, despite some significant gaps in knowledge, examined the links between service use and health outcomes. The process included bringing together some of the leading thinkers in the field to discuss the issues at a one day symposium.
- The report, which was published on the Department of Health’s website, is available in the Members Section of this site under Argumentation Tools
- More on the MHF website