Annual check-ups for men, specialist men’s health nurses and improved funding – these are just three of the recommendations of Australia’s Senate Select Committee on Men's Health.
As part of the process of developing a men’s health policy for the country, the committee, chaired by senator Cory Bernardi, right, has just released a detailed report making 13 specific recommendations.
‘Australian men are long-lived by world standards,’ the Committee said, 'but their health status exhibits distinct differences from that of Australian women and is, by most measures, worse. Indigenous men exhibit the worst health outcomes of all groups in Australian society.’
The recommendations in brief are:
- that the Australian Government gives ‘due consideration’ to the committee’s findings in developing the National Men's Health Policy;
- not an ‘office for men’ but a mandatory requirement that lawmakers consider the impact of legislation and policies on men as well as women;
- a government-funded longitudinal study on men's health (a longitudinal study of women's health was established in 1995);
- that government investigate the feasibility of introducing a structured, comprehensive annual health check for men;
- the offering of incentives to nurses to train as men's nurse practitioners ;
- that government discusses with individual states the introuduction of programmes ‘that encourage boys to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing’;
- that government take the initiative in improving trauma treatment in Central Australia;
- that government take the initiative in simplifying the application process for health related grants;
- that integrated health service provision (to recognise the interconnectedness of men's health issues) be a central part of the national men's health policy;
- that government investigate standardised service models for mental health care throughout Australia;
- that the Australian Prostate Cancer BioResource is provided with sustainable funding to do the necessary research;
- that government funds a Prostate Cancer Foundation prostate cancer information pack;
- that government funds specialist prostate cancer nurses, particularly in rural and regional Australia.
The Australian government – known as the commonwealth government to distinguish it from the individual governments of the country’s states - announced that it would introduce a men’s health policy back on 8 June 2008. A programme of consultation is currently underway throughout the country and it is expected that the policy will be completed by the end of this year.
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