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The key questions about men and pharmacy

How do you get men into their local pharmacy? Dr Gillian Granville, who is heading up the Forum's men and pharmacy project, has prepared a scoping study that takes the first steps towards an answer.

The scoping paper marks the first stage of the MHF's men and pharmacy project. It sets out the research and policy context and lays out our approach to the project and the key research question: how can we increase men's use of community pharmacy to improve their health? 

The study suggest that there is a rich and positive policy environment and a range of policy hooks in which to embed the work. Regarding men's use of pharmacy for health and lifestyle advice, there appears to be a severe lack of evidence of what works to encourage men to make better use of pharmacy. It is also frustrating to find the extent to which studies remain 'gender blind', even when they are seeking to address health inequalities.

Similarly, there is not a sufficiently strong evidence base to understand what works, for whom, in what circumstances and why, which makes spread and adoption of research findings in complex community-based initiatives difficult.

This project is testing the assumptions of what we know about men's health and their poor access to health services, with what the literature tells us about the use of community pharmacy services and their role in improving public health. The scoping study has enabled us to identify some key subsidiary questions:

Questions for men

  • What are the circumstances that will attract men to use pharmacy? What are the barriers?
  • How can we engage men to use pharmacy services?
  • Is it through the workplace?
  • What hooks need to be in place?
  • What most concerns them about their health?
  • Does it vary with age?
  • How do we measure behavioural change?
  • Why don't they use pharmacies more for health advice?
  • What are men's perceptions of pharmacists/ pharmacies?

Questions for pharmacies

  • How can pharmacies make their premises more men-friendly?
  • How can pharmacy staff be more supported to take on a public health role?
  • How can pharmacies engage more effectively with commissioning and community needs assessments?
  • What incentives need to be in place for pharmacies to address gender inequalities?
  • Do some pharmacy models works best and why?
  • What needs to be in place in the local health economy?
  • What about health trainers?

Questions for national policy makers 

  • How will this project address inequality in health?
  • Will it widen the socio-economic factors between men?
  • What drivers need to be in place to support the pharmacy public health role?

What do you think? Please have a look our scoping study and let us know if there is anything else that ought to be considered.

Page created on January 7th, 2008

Page updated on December 18th, 2009