QOF 'should be gender-specific'

The quality framework should score the health outcomes of men and women differently in an attempt to reduce gender inequalities, according to a leading health charity.

The Men's Health Forum was commissioned by the DoH to undertake a study into the different ways that women and men access health services.

The 'Gender and Access to Health Services Study 2008' found large differences in use of services and the incidence and prevalence of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, mental health and sexual health.

The study concluded that the quality framework offers the 'ideal mechanism' to address gender inequalities.

But it pointed out that many of the current indicators are 'potentially subject to variations in effectiveness by gender'.

The Men's Health Forum recommended piloting a test of 'gender-equitable distribution' for the quality framework, to make sure disease registers reflect the proportion of men and women with each condition.

The approach could be applied to any quality indicator affected by gender imbalances.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

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