My role



Aims and Activities

NMHW 2009 (15th-21st June) will focus on the issue of improving men's use of services to reduce the risks to their health and wellbeing.

Men take too many risks with their health — too many drink alcohol excessively, smoke, eat a poor diet, use illegal drugs, have unsafe sex, and drive dangerously. One of the biggest risks to men's health is their reluctance to seek help from services or to take part in health improvement programmes. This is often because services and programmes are not delivered in ways that take account of men's particular needs.

Poor use of services by men has a direct impact on their health and wellbeing. Recent research has examined the potential impact of men's lower contact rate with GPs and suggested that, because men present later than women with severe symptoms, it may be linked to higher hospitalisation and mortality rates. This finding is consistent with UK and Europe-wide data on malignant melanoma which shows that while women are more likely to develop this type of cancer, men are more likely to die from it. The most plausible explanation is that men tend to present when the cancer is more advanced and therefore harder to treat.

Men's poor use of health services therefore helps to explain why men generally die younger than women - just 66% of men reach the age of 75 compared to 77% of women.

NMHW 2009 has two main objectives:

  • To improve men's awareness of the range of health and related services and how to use them effectively.
  • To improve the understanding of health policymakers and practitioners about how to develop and deliver services that men will use.

NMHW will not be a negative event focusing just on the problems that exist but will instead seek to promote a positive view of how the problems can be tackled by highlighting — and encouraging — better self-care by men and better practice within the health system.

Topics to be covered

MHF will focus on the following health issues during NMHW 2009. These are:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Sexual health
  • Mental health
  • Obesity (diet and physical activity)
  • Workplace health
  • Improving use of the range of primary care services (GPs, pharmacy, NHS Direct, NHS Choices, Walk In Centres, etc)
  • Inequalities (focusing on routine and manual groups and taking account of age, ethnicity, sexuality, etc.).

The principal activities for NMHW 2009

During NMHW 2009, the MHF will:

  • Publish resources that can be used on a long-term basis.

    These will be for the use of individual men and for professionals. MHF plans to produce generic materials — including a MHF/Haynes 'mini manual' on men and health services and information 'credit cards' as well as web-based information — that can be used in a variety of settings. The 'credit cards' will contain seven health challenges for men, reflecting the issues highlighted above, with signposting to relevant services. We expect to distribute 135,000+ mini manuals and 500,000+ 'credit cards' during the Week.

  • Support local events
  • Organised by individual primary care or other health organisations, workplaces or community groups including 'MOT' checks for men or health improvement campaigns on lifestyle issues. A key theme will be encouraging men to make better use of the widest possible range of services. We anticipate 1,500-2,000 local events across England during the Week.

  • Host a high-profile national launch event in the form of a 'balloon debate'.
  • This will take place on 15 June at the Bodyworlds exhibition at the O2 and will cover three key men's health issues — primary care, workplace and screening — in an innovative and entertaining way. There will be an audience of about 80 comprising politicians, government officials, senior NHS managers and practitioners, and media. The event will be filmed for webstreaming by the BMJ which will also cover NMHW editorially.

  • Work with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Men's Health
  • to hold a meeting to discuss men's access to services.

  • Publish new policy on men and their use of health services.


The Week will be followed (in autumn 2009) by two further events:

  • An expert symposium on men's access to services which will aim to develop further policy and practice in this area;
  • A training event for NMHW partner organisations and others on how to deliver health services to men.

Page created on February 27th, 2009

Page updated on December 1st, 2009