The importance of National Menâ€™s Health Week was clearly demonstrated when incoming public health minister Hazel Blears chose its launch as her first public engagement. The event, at Portcullis House opposite the House of Commons, was attended by over 70 guests from all areas of men's health, together with politicians from all parties.
The importance of National Men's Health Week was clearly demonstrated when incoming public health minister Hazel Blears chose its launch as her first public engagement. The event, at Portcullis House opposite the House of Commons, was attended by over 70 guests from all areas of men's health, together with politicians from all parties.
The minister joined an impressive lineup of speakers including men's health experts, MPs and celebrities. The event also saw the launch of the Men's Health Forum's policy document 'Getting it Sorted' and the re-launch of malehealth.co.uk, the Forum's consumer web-site. The director of the week, MHF trustee Richard O'Neill, who chaired the event, said: 'We heard about the many problems in men's health, but also the solutions too.'
Dr Howard Stoate MP, a GP as well as the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Men's Health praised the MHF as the 'driving force' behind the week. He said that woimen had taken the initiative in their own health and it was now up to men to do the same.
Hazel Blears endorsed that sentiment. 'We're very fond of men,' she said, 'and would like to see them make similar progress!' More seriously, she ran through some pioneering men's health projects and said it was important that health inequalities were tackled wherever they appeared. 'Even more baby boys die than girls,' she said. 'I'd urge you to press us to move on with this agenda.'
Conservative MP Tim Loughton endorsed what the minister said and congratulated the Forum on raising the profile of men's health.
Launching Getting it Sorted, Ian Banks said: 'We've moaned and now we need to do something about it. This is it. It gives examples of achievements as well as setting out the future of men's health.'
Snooker champion Steve Davis wound up the speeches. He said he was keen to support the event as he spent a lot of time 'looking after his balls'. He said men were reluctant to talk about their health and it was important to change this behaviour among the younger genration. 'It's important to look after your children,' he concluded, 'as they're the ones who decided which home you go into.'
The launch in London was the prelude to the almost 300 men's health projects taking place around the country throughout the week. Few ministers ever forget their first public engagement. It's up to the men's health lobby ensure Hazel Blears doesn't have the chance.
Page created on September 11th, 2003
Page updated on January 14th, 2010