Men visit their GP 20% less frequently than women and are reluctant users of primary care in general. Some health providers and operators of sports venues have understood the opportunities available by taking services to where men do go.
This is most common at football and rugby grounds, where the NHS or specialist providers have started using the venues to run one-off health information or health check days and to deliver elements of public health programmes – most notably on cancer.
This first meeting of the group in 2010 heard about one of the key topic areas for this year's National Men's Health Week - innovative programmes where sports clubs help their visitors or neighbours with health information and services.
Anna Rimmington and Joe Lyons of the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation spoke about their work. The Foundation is very much about working with the neighbours of the club's north London stadium - its community work is much broader than health checks at the stadium on match days. For example, they have community work on how healthy eating helps incorporate a healthy lifestyle into someone's routine. As well as working with health trainers the Foundation has offered training to be a health trainer.
Colin Avery works for Playing Safely a project backed by NHS Oldham Community Health Services and now working further afield. It too works as part of the community not just at a stadium. However, they also use the groups available through the stadium, for example working with trainees at football clubs to build acceptence of sexual health screening among young men. While Playing Safely is now working with others in the NHS and football organisations there is no central driver in the NHS or champion of the work in government.
These are key examples of reaching out and targeting health services according to Dr Ian Banks and are the sort of work that National Men's Health Week will raise awarness of.
Dr Howard Stoate MP reminded the audience that football tickets are not being sold to the less well off yet they are the people health services need to reach. This provoked comments from visitors.
Paul Barnes from Chelsea Football Club said they take their health work to less well off areas and offer tickets as incentives. Judy Crabb from the Federation of Stadium Communities said that the majority of football clubs are still community based.
Group members present pledged to work on the issues raised in the meeting. This topic will play a ket role in National Men's Health Week 2010.
Read Colin Avery's briefing document on Playing Safely's work.
Page created on January 26th, 2010
Page updated on May 25th, 2010