Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Men's health needs serious attention

28 June, 2005

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson, Upper Bann John O'Dowd MLA has said men's health needs to be taken seriously by the Health Department , his comments come following the joint CREST / Diabetes UK Report on Men's Health and its findings which show men with Diabetes are dissatisfied with the emotional and physiological support they receive from the Health Service.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"In January of last year, the Men's Health Forum in Ireland launched the publication of the Men's Health Report, the most comprehensive study ever carried out on the entire island of Ireland into men's health. It is a source of concern that 18 months later this report and its recommendations remain on the shelves of the two Health Departments in both parts of Ireland gathering dust, with the momentum of its launch and the potential health gains for men, lost.

"This latest CREST/DIABETES UK publication shows that men with Diabetes are still not receiving the emotional care and attention they require, this can mean without such support an individuals medical condition can deteriorate as the person becomes despondent and fails to regulate their medication and care. It has to be a cause of concern for all that 80% of those men questioned had not received advice from a Health care professional in the last year.

"However, I also accept that the failure of men to attend their GP also is a reason behind such a percentage. One of the reasons why men do not attend their GP or discuss their health with friends or work colleagues or even discuss their feelings with their partners or family is because of Irish male masculinity. Sexual problems or emotional stress is something the Irish male will not necessarily discuss freely, even with their GP.

"Government needs to look at the findings of toady's report and the recommendations of the Men's Health Forum report ,we need to examine ways forward such as

  • The establishment of a multi sector advisory group with health officials and other stakeholders who are engaged in men's health at statutory and community level, which would provide terms of reference in relation to men's health and monitor and assess progress made north and south.
  • The creation of Research and Information Collection database to provide up to date trends and statistics.
  • The development of a national policy on men's health relevant to all men on the island
  • Increased education, training and awareness on men's health issues.

"Men's health is not a competition for the resources being quite correctly directed towards women's health, it is a stand alone issue. ENDS

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