Three years of hard work have paid off for a Scottish forum focusing on Men's Health Issues.
March, the Men's Health Forum Scotland will celebrate the Scottish Executive's announcement that they will dedicate £4 million to developing men's health clinics across Scotland. thAt a national conference being held at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 12
This investment signals that men's health is no longer a neglected area of Scotland's health thanks to the Forum's success in raising personal, public and policy makers' awareness of men's health issues.
Mr Tom McCabe, Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care, who will attend the Conference said: "The Executive has set out a range of ambitious actions to improve health and tackling health inequalities across the country. Health is simply not improving fast enough and real change is needed. There are no quick fixes, and we recognise that we have no choice but to be in this for the long-term.
"We are all aware that the health of Scottish men, in particular, is poor. Although many aspects of health amongst the male population has improved over the last few years it is still amongst the worst in Europe. The health of the most deprived men has continued to decline while that of their more affluent compatriots has improved.
"The development of Well Men services gives us an important opportunity to tackle some of these questions and to contribute to an increase in the mental and physical well being of men and in October I announced that over the next two financial years we are investing £4 million in developing and piloting innovative approaches to Well Man Services.
"Over the last few months we have been developing a strategy to improve health services for men in Scotland. This is a significant challenge and we will be looking for health professionals, local authorities and the voluntary sector to work together to develop innovative ways of engaging men in order to improve men's health and the health of the nation."
Other attendees include both workers in the field of men's health and men in the community.
The conference aims include sharing current evidence on the state of men's health and well being in Scotland, developing a vision for the future of men's health in Scotland, and involving and including men in developing appropriate responses to their own health needs.
The new Scottish Executive investment will support MOT Clinics for men. Ian Anderson, a typical visitor to an MOT clinic, said: "I am one of those men who never went to their doctor unless I could not walk or was seriously ill, and that seemed to be the case of lots of guys. A lot of people who went for the MOT discovered that there was something wrong with them that they did not know about.
Ian says the changes he has made are not only improving his health but his family are benefiting also: "The kids are loving it too because they get to go swimming when I go to the gym. The wife has also signed up for the gym and the whole family are eating more healthily."
Alistair Pringle, Men's Health Forum Scotland chair said: "The conference is a significant milestone in working to address the health of Scotland's men.
"When we first set up the Forum in 1997 people hadn't really given any thought to the health needs of men and the common belief was that men just weren't interested. We set up the Forum to raise personal, policy and public awareness of the issues and the recent announcement of funding from the Health Department to set up men's health clinics across Scotland signifies success.
"We now hope to develop a national men's health resource centre to continue to address both the medical and social aspects of men's health and wellbeing"
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