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Men's health week: a lot of hot air?

A capacity crowd attended the launch event for this year's National Men's Health Week yesterday - MHF's Balloon Debate, 'Men's health - just a lot hot air?'. 

The event was held at the Body Worlds exhibition at the O2 in LondonBalloon Master Dr Banks and attended by over 80 senior officials and professionals from across the health sector. Expert speakers, playing passengers in a hot air balloon, included Jonathan Mason, the government's National Clinical Director for Primary Care and Community Pharmacy; Dr Steve Boorman, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Royal Mail Group; and Phil Hilton, Editorial Director, ShortList magazine and former editor of Nuts and Men's Health.

Each expert put their case forward to the audience, from the comfort of a balloon basket, on the role of the media, pharmacies and the workplace in improving men's health access and outcomes. The audience voted to establish whether the speakers had generated enough hot air to keep the balloon afloat, with Balloon Master Dr Ian Banks overseeing the proceedings.

The audience voted to save the balloon's passengers who had shown that those leading health policy, practice and media are committed to improving men's health. However, the debate highlighted that while policy makers may have the best intentions in many areas the messages are still not getting through. Service providers must design better services for men and men themselves need to use services more effectively.MHF Balloon passengers

All agreed that a change in policy and development of gender sensitive  initiatives are needed to support better male health outcomes. MHF believes that an overwhelming majority of men have not had an opportunity to take advantage of the few initiatives introduced so far.

Dr Ian Banks, president of Men's Health Forum play the role of Balloon Master, he said, "The Balloon Debate brought together some of the most influential people in UK health provision and has really helped to put the plight of men's health on the map at a national level. I feel confident that our 2009 policy recommendations will be taken seriously by the powers that be, taking us that one step closer to better health for men and boys.”  

Speaking at the 'post flight reception' Peter Baker, MHF chief executive, thanked the events sponsors BMJ, Body Worlds, Clinical Solutions, Department of Health and Royal Mail Group.

Page created on June 16th, 2009

Page updated on April 14th, 2010