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London: the funding gap in gender-sensitive health services

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a not-for-profit organisation based at London's City University, has drawn attention to the gulf in funding between health services targeted at women and those targeted at men.

In some of the most deprived areas of London women live up to 12 years more than men. The Bureau wanted to know if this disparity was being redressed.

Freedom of information requests were sent to Greater London’s 32 Primary Care Trusts and the capital’s councils asking them to disclose how much they paid for health and wellbeing services outside the NHS broken down by gender.

  • Only 4 borough PCTs commissioned specifically men’s services (at a cost of £11,135,291), 
  • 15 PCTs commissioned women’s services (at a cost of between £13,156,785 and £13,429,785).

The Bureau note that: 'The disparity in spending among PCTs was greatest in Brent, where nearly £3.5m was spent on female-focused third sector initiatives over the past five years, and nothing spent on men’s. Yet male life expectancy in Stonebridge, Brent, is just 73.5 years, five years below the national average.'

MHF's 10 point plan

MHF CEO Peter Baker called on PCTs and all health-care providers to take up the commissioning challenge. 'The problems with men’s health are clear. Many of the solutions may appear less obvious, but we now know enough to suggest with considerable confidence the approaches that are most likely to improve men’s health outcomes.' He went on to set out the MHF's ten-step programme to improve men’s health:

  • Start with boys health education
  • Improve men’s access to health services
  • Improve men’s uptake of national NHS screening programmes
  • Develop more and better male-targeted health interventions
  • Exploit new settings for delivering men’s health services and improvement programmes
  • Include men’s health in professional training
  • Initiate a sustained men’s health research programme
  • Ensure that the NHS’s new equality delivery system is effective
  • National health policy must embrace men much more comprehensively
  • Local health policies must include men

Full story on the Bureau's website: Male health initiatives get less money than those aimed at women.

Page created on July 2nd, 2012

Page updated on July 2nd, 2012