My role


Man in the dock in Coventry

For crimes against his own health, man was sent to Coventry last week.

Conference logoThe Coventry Men’s Health Conference on Friday 1 October, hosted jointly by Coventry City Council and the Men’s Health Forum included the prosecution of ‘man’ for grievous harm against himself.

In full ceremonial robes, MHF CEO Peter Baker made a convincing prosecutor.  Dr Alan Dolan, Dr Steve Boorman and Dr Ayan Panja were the expert witnesses defending ‘man’ while the judge, Coventry Council CEO Martin Reeves, also in full ceremonial robes, kept proceedings in order.

Trial voteBy audience vote, right, man was found not guilty of grievous bodily harm to himself and of failing to make use of available health care services but guilty of not taking sufficient care of himself. The sentence was one year’s community service during which time, in the words of the judge 'you will be expected to report regularly to your GP and local pharmacy for advice on improving your health. If I find you do not do this, or if you do not act on the advice you are given, I will require you to come back to court for further sentencing.'

Speaking afterwards, Martin Reeves, below, described the event as: 'one of the most enjoyable and positive conferences I have ever attended. Lots of experience and energy in the room and, despite the big challenges on men's health, I came away thinking this is "doable" and we can make a real and lasting difference!'

'A fresh start'

Martin ReevesEarlier, the invited audience of 130 delegates heard from a range of speakers on the need for a ‘fresh start’ in men’s health. Martin Reeves praised the work on men’s health in Coventry and highlighted the fact that it was the only council in England to employ a dedicated Men’s Health Officer. He advocated the need to be bold enough to pilot new practices when established services did not address need and that this could pay dividends in the area of men’s health. As a result, Coventry City Council has made large strides in addressing men’s health in recent times, using innovative outreach techniques and partnership working.

The MHF's David Wilkins told delegates that although there had been improvements in men’s health, 40% of men still die prematurely, compared to 26% of women.

Mark Davies, director of inequalities at the Department of Health, commended both Coventry City Council and the MHF on their innovative work and emphasised the need to maintain this momentum to see continued improvements.

Alternative take

Comedian John Ryan got the afternoon session off to a flying start with his alternative take on men’s health, while hammering home some of the health inequalities men face in his own unique style.

Later MHF chair Professor Alan White presented on the social inequalities that impact on men’s health, contextualising the implications of the practical work carried out by those in Coventry and elsewhere.

The day was rounded off with a lively interactive discussion led by Peter Baker and Coventry health development manager Jean Arrowsmith. Many useful suggestions were put forward by the audience, including the sharing of best practice.

Below: the judge, the prosecutor and the expert witnesses.

Trial team


Page created on October 4th, 2010

Page updated on October 5th, 2010