Melanie Johnson, the public health minister, has described 'gender mainstreaming' as 'jargon I don't very much like'.
Although she praised the Men's Health Forum for the 'excellent job' it is doing and acknowledged the importance of ensuring equal progress for men and women on health issues, she signalled a reluctance to endorse closer monitoring of services to ensure they are male-friendly.
She made the comments at a recent meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Men's Health, to which the Forum provides the secretariat. 'I'm very interested to know what practically works best. What works best for a 50-year-old male may not be what works best for a 24-year-old female,' she said.
'If we spend too long analysing the (gender issue) problem, we will miss the golden opportunity of using the extra money we have to change things on the ground. To do it systematically would be a major task. The danger is everybody wants every nook and cranny of activity to be examined. But where we can see there is some difference emerging in gender terms, that's something that really ought to be picked up.
'I don't think we should lose sight of the fact that it is an issue,' she said, adding that progress in improving health for men and women at similar rates in key areas was a 'very important part of what has got to drive the whole equity issue in the NHS'.
Ms Johnson suggested health workers could use cancer and heart disease targets to persuade primary care trusts to address men's health issues. She also encouraged sharing good practice — something that is possible through the Men's Health Forum project database on this website.
Parlaimentary coverage including all questions and debates on men's health can be found under the All-Party Group link on the menu.
Page created on March 22nd, 2004
Page updated on December 1st, 2009