CEO Peter Baker reports on another busy but enormously successful year for the Men's Health Forum.
As we prepare for 2007, we have established ourselves as a key organisation in implementation of the new gender equality duty. Throughout the year, we have worked closely with the DH Equality and Human Rights Group, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Women and Equality Unit, now located in the Department of Communities and Local Government.
In November, we ran a very successful conference on the duty for senior NHS managers and we will be hosting a similar event for the voluntary health sector in March. In the New Year, we firmly expect to be invited to join the DH's new gender duty consultation group which has been established following the recommendation in our Gender Equity Audit report. There is now little doubt that the gender duty creates the best opportunity we have had — and which will probably ever exist — to push the DH and the NHS to implement the policies and practices we have been advocating.
National Men's Health Week 2006 was widely supported and evaluated very positively. Despite the difficulties we inevitably faced in seeking to raise male mental health issues, we secured 41 partner organisations for the Week, published the Brain manual and influential policy, worked with Howard Stoate MP to secure a parliamentary debate, held a national conference attended by some 300 people and achieved significant media coverage. We also secured funding from the DH — and more recently the Lloyds TSB Foundation — for a three-year project to produce resources to improve the mental health of BME men. The first stage of this project — the literature review — has been very well received by the project's expert advisory group.
The men and cancer symposium, held at Leeds Metropolitan University in November, was a landmark event. Organised in partnership with CancerBackup, Macmillan and the Centre for Men's Health at LMU and chaired by the cancer tsar Mike Richards, the symposium identified a range of important issues requiring further investigation which will be discussed further with Professor Richards.
Our lobbying campaign on men and chlamydia screening in the first half of 2006, which included an All Party Group on Men's Health meeting on the issue, resulted in a new commitment from the National Chlamydia Screening Programme to increase the proportion of young men screened. We also persuaded Boots to target more men in its London pilot project which is being run for the DH. The Forum has successfully demonstrated that not only is it important to screen more men but also that doing so is both practical and feasible.
During the year, good progress was made to establish projects on bowel cancer screening and improving men's use of GP and pharmacy services. Although we had hoped to start these projects in 2006/7, the prospects for 2007/8 are now looking very good indeed. The Work Fit project report will be published in early 2007 and will help us market the programme to other organisations. The Mini Manuals are also well on their way to becoming established as a valued product and an important source of unrestricted income for the Forum.
We are making good headway on National Men's Health Week 2007 — which focuses on men and long-term conditions — and we have agreed that the 2008 Week will address men and work. We successfully managed the transition from the MHF magazine to a new eNewsletter, although further development of this resource is still needed. Malehealth.co.uk — still a unique resource for 'the man in the street' — was recently highlighted as one of the top five wellbeing sites by The Times.
The Hazardous Waist book, based on the NMHW 2005 conference, is scheduled for publication during the 2007 Week. The long-discussed academic 'wing' is about to become a reality following a very successful meeting with the Medical Research Council and other academics with an interest in men's health.
Our internal management systems have improved hugely over the year. Staff are now regularly supervised, have clear and co-ordinated work programmes, and have benefited from a more thorough annual appraisal process. The organisation is also fortunate to enjoy efficient as well as enthusiastic administrative support and financial management.
It is impossible in a short summary to do justice to every area of our work and to the contribution of every member of staff and trustee. But there can be no doubt that we are very lucky to have a team of very talented, committed and hard-working people. With their help, we will continue to make a real difference to men's health.
I wish you a very happy holiday and New Year.
Page created on January 2nd, 2007
Page updated on December 1st, 2009