My role


Man guilty of crimes against his own health

Man has been found 'guilty' of causing his own premature death.

The shock verdict today, before a specially invited jury, followed a 'trial' in a London 'courtroom' that sought to identify responsibility for the early death of men in the UK. Currently, a baby boy has a 66% chance of reaching the age of 75 while a baby girl has a 77% chance.

The mock trial marked the start of Men's Health Week, which this year focuses on Men and the Workplace and highlights the workplace's potential as a setting for improving the health of men.

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Carol BlackBefore presiding judge, Professor Dame Carol Black, right, and a chief inquisitor, MHF CEO Peter Baker, a series of expert witnesses presented evidence that highlighted:

  • the failure of primary care to provide an accessible service for men
  • the poor management of many long-term conditions in men
  • the absence of men's health from local NHS health plans
  • the dearth of health information in formats that appeal to men
  • the slow take-up by workplaces of men's health initiatives.

The expert witnesses argued that if action was taken in all these areas, there is good evidence that it would lead to major improvements in men's health. The witnesses also highlighted examples of good practice which clearly demonstrated what could be achieved. But this what not enough to convince the jury who concluded that the poor health of Man is not simply the fault of Man himself.

The jury comprised health professionals, policymakers, NGOs, politicians and journalists.

Expert witness Dr Howard Stoate, a Labour MP and a member of the House of Commons Health Select Committee, told the jury: 'We must acknowledge that the "one-policy-fits-all approach" to health does not work.' Instead, he called for 'tailored health policies, which ensure greater health literacy among men, as well as greater awareness of gender-specific needs among health professionals.'

Other expert witnesses included Dr Su Wang, Group Head of Health, Royal Mail Group and Professor Alan White, Director of the Centre for Men's Health, Leeds Metropolitan University.

Man urged to swallow his pride

Following the jury's verdict on Man of 'guilty of crimes against himself, and failing to take good care of himself', Judge Black (DBE) sentenced Man to community service during which time he has to report regularly to his GP and pharmacist for health advice.

Judge Black said: 'Having heard the evidence my observation is that men's health is far poorer than it need be. Although Man is partly to blame, we also need health policies and services that take men's needs fully into account. I urge government, the NHS, local government, employers, the third sector, in fact everyone with a role to play, but of course including men themselves, to act now to tackle this major health challenge

'Both the format and content of the event were a great success,' said Peter Baker. 'The expert witnesses demonstrated graphically how men tend to experience'poorer health literacy, present later and die earlier across most disease areas, including long-term conditions. The court case format was an ideal way to show the specific actions that are needed to improve male health. Unfortunately Man was found guilty this time

around, but if more is done to engage men in healthcare services in the future, I'm sure that we can expect a different outcome next time around.'

A spokesperson for Man commented: 'I'm obviously disappointed with the verdict, and feel that Man has been punished enough by suffering in silence and being too embarrassed to seek medical help. I hope this will be a warning to others, and I urge men to swallow their pride and reach out to his GP and other healthcare professionals. There is time for other

men, more fortunate than Man today, to save themselves from the same predicament.'

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Page created on June 9th, 2008

Page updated on December 1st, 2009