The south London borough of Lewisham is leading way in the improvement of men's health and showing what a PCT can do when it takes gender seriously.
Alongside the publication of a scrutiny review of men's health provision in the borough, the PCT has launched a website portal in association with the MHF's award-winning malehealth site.
Of the 150 plus PCTs, some two dozen have still not produced gender equality plans, six months after the April 2007 deadline. MHF CEO Peter Baker, who provided expert testimony to Lewisham's scrutiny panel, said: 'This shortfall might be the tip of the iceberg. MHF research has found many of the plans to be very poor or merely drafts but this initiative by Lewisham proves that it can be done. There is no excuse. The Forum is ready to help any or all PCTs — just as we did with Lewisham.'
On lewishammalehealth.org.uk, men can find everything they need to know about staying healthy including an online health-check, an A-Z of health, gym and fitness sessions and lifestyle information as well the opportunity to email in their own comments about health issues.
The scrutiny panel brought together some of Lewisham's leading health professionals, councillors and Lewisham Primary Care Trust (PCT) in a year long root and branch reveiew of the issues around men's health in the borough: circulatory diseases; smoking cessation; physical exercise; diet and nutrition; cancers; mental health and well-being; sexual health; men's access to health services; and quality of life issues.
The panel identified a need for greater service integration and health promotion as key to getting men to take a more active role in their own health awareness. Its recommendations included the need to:
Perhaps surprisingly, the panel found that men appear not to perceive a need for health services for themselves.
'This has been an innovative project, and we have found a number of ways where the health services and the Council can work together to make a real difference to improve men's health in the borough,' said Councillor Alan Hall, who chaired the panel. 'Please go and look at the Lewisham malehealth website. It's great that the NHS and Lewisham Council have taken notice and responded so positively.'
Peter Baker concluded: 'Lewisham's Men's Health Review is good news for everyone apart from undertakers! It provides one of the clearest pictures I've seen of just how poor men's health is in the borough, but also how we can start putting things right. It's a model I hope many other councils and Primary Care Trusts will now choose to follow.'
Page created on November 23rd, 2007
Page updated on December 1st, 2009