Three new pilot projects in Glasgow are aiming to find out more about why men and women access health services in different ways which can often lead to different health outcomes.
The pilot projects being developed by NHS Greater Glasgow are part of a national pilot initiative that is being co-ordinated by The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).
NHS Greater Glasgow already has a considerable knowledge of how gender can affect the way in which men and women access health services but following discussion and consultation with staff and a number of voluntary organisations, three areas of work were identified as priorities for the pilot projects.
The priorities for NHS Greater Glasgow will be mental health services development,tobacco policy and service development and management of stroke.
With a Glasgow Women's Health Policy, a dedicated Women's Health Team and a dedicated Men's Health Team, these new pilot projects will further enhance the experience and development of services which meet the needs of both men and women.
The projects will aim to identify any gender inequalities in the way services are currently organised which may affect the uptake and success rates.
Sue Laughlin,Women's Health Co-ordinator, NHS Greater Glasgow said: "We already know that the uptake rates for smoking cessation services varies widely between men and women and that the success rates for giving up smoking after four weeks are far higher for men than women.
"By finding out more about what causes these differences we can adapt and improve our services to make them more responsive to the needs of both sexes.
"The results from the three pilot projects will not only influence the development of services within the three priority areas but will also inform the development of services across the organisation.
"This will be particularly important when new national legislation, that places a duty on all public sector organisations to eliminate discrimination and promote equality of opportunity between men and women, is implemented at the end of 2006."
Alastair Low, Men's Health Promotion Officer added:"Gender is an issue that is often overlooked when developing services, yet it forms the core of who we are and shapes our behaviours, including how and why we access health services.
"By better understanding its importance we can deliver more sensitive and effective services to women and men across the Greater Glasgow NHS Board area".
For further information on the gender pilot schemes or details of the draft legislation which is currently being consulted on please contact 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]