The Forum has slammed the way that the poor uptake of health services by men is often assumed by providers to be men's fault.
Welcoming the government's proposed public sector duty to promote gender equality, the Forum argues that over a period of time, such a duty could lead to a step change in the way health services engage with men, and in the way men engage with health services
Commonly referred to as the 'gender duty', the government's proposals will require public authorities including councils and NHS bodies to eliminate discrimination and promote equality of opportunity between men and women.
MHF policy officer, David Wilkins, who drafted the Forum's detailed response to the consultation on the gender duty said: 'the perceived difficulties with addressing the health of men have become endemic in many health bodies. Since services are generally provided on a whole population basis, it is often regarded as men's "own fault" if they do not take advantage of them to the same extent as women.
'It is not uncommon to hear the male 50% of the population referred to, without irony, as a "hard-to-reach" group,' he said.
Because these attitudes are so entrenched and because the evidence base for good practice is presently so poor, the Forum's response calls for measurable process indicators to ensure that health providers are actively engaging with the issue.
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