My role



Reformed NHS must have a Gender Equalities Board

The Men’s Health Forum has called for a Gender Equalities Board to be set up as part of the planned changes to the NHS. The Forum made the call in its response to the government’s NHS white paper, Equity and Excellence.

The charity’s response to the government’s plans focuses less on reservations about some of the changes planned and more on suggestions of how it can help make them work.

The Men’s Health Forum proposes to:
• help establish a Gender Equalities Board, to help the new NHS Commissioning Board to deliver on its duty to tackle inequalities
• produce guidance for the proposed GP consortia on how to commission gender-sensitive services and make their practices more accessible to men
• produce guidance for local authorities to help to ensure that Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNAs) are gender-sensitive and based on data broken down by gender to ensure that the needs of both men and women are taken into account.
• help to develop targeted health information for men, in a variety of formats including online. (Male health and information technology will be the theme of National Men’s Health Week 2011).

On the central plank of the white paper, to replace Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) with GP consortia, MHF chief executive Peter Baker, said:

“In the past, most PCTs have not commissioned services that take proper account of men. This situation could well deteriorate under the new arrangements without significant practical guidance and enforcement.”

“Currently, it is unclear how the NHS Commissioning Board will monitor the performance of GP consortia in meeting duties to tackle health inequalities and promote equality in line with the Equality Act.”



1. The MHF is a charity that provides an independent and authoritative voice for male health in England and Wales and tackles the issues and inequalities affecting the health and well-being of men and boys.

2. The MHF response to the white paper makes ten specific requests of government:
• establish a Gender Equalities Board within the NHS Commissioning Board,
• ensure GPs tackle gender inequalities in health outcomes by linking these outcomes to GP practice income,
• reform the Quality Outcomes Framework to ensure that it rewards tackling gender inequalities in health,
• specify indicators within the National Outcomes Framework to address the disproportionate level of premature death amongst men (currently two thirds of people who die prematurely in this country are men).
• develop health information specifically targeted at men,
• ensure that local HealthWatch organisations are required to engage with those who experience the worst health inequalities.
• ensure that HealthWatch England does the same at a national level,
• give the proposed Health and Well-being Boards sufficient powers to ensure that GP consortia and others, commission services to address the health inequalities highlighted by local JSNAs,
• ensure that the NHS Commissioning Board has sufficient powers to ensure that GP consortia fulfil their duty to tackle health inequalities,
• extend GP opening hours, make it easier to book appointments (both online and by telephone) and ensure that it is possible to register with more than one GP surgery, to facilitate easier access.

3. The full text of the MHF’s response to the white paper is available online at

4. The MHF is online at: for health professionals and policy makers, and for fast, free, independent health info from the Men’s Health Forum.

Page created on October 13th, 2010

Page updated on October 13th, 2010


In This Section