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Access to Health Services
Improving Male Health Through Better Access to Services
There are plenty of resources for women's health but relatively fewer for men
- How can we improve the ability of health services to engage men effectively?
- How can we encourage men to use available health services more proactively?
These are the kinds of questions and balances that MHIRC is exploring. As the two questions indicate, there are two major facets to linking men with health services in an effective way so that health can be managed preventatively and in a timely manner.
Firstly, health services need to be encouraging, safe places for men to visit. Most health services are well on the way towards considering the needs of male patients and family members in planning health facilities but our knowledge of what works is always increasing.
Secondly, we need to find ways to encourage men to make use of existing services in a way that detects and treats problems early on. Health promotions, campaigns, events, information distribution and many other methods are used to highlight the need to manage health and illness together.
See Men's Health Resource Kit 1: Practitioners’ Guide to Accessible Health Care for Men (opens in a new window)
Why are male health needs considered to be so different from women's and children's health needs?
The first Priority for Action in the NSW Health Men's Health Action Plan is 'More accessible, appropriate health care for men' and essentially this involves exploration of methods to make health facilities sympathetic to the particular needs of men. This involves research and education for health planners about factors like:
- Proximity and transport options of health services in relation to men in need
- Opening hours and practitioner availability to accommodate working men
- Sensitivity of staff to the way men communicate and absorb information
- Consideration of labelling and signage to include men as part of Family Health
- Cultural and linguistic considerations of local men and how that relates to healthcare