Practices urged to audit men's experience of GP services

GP practices should audit men's experience of their services and appoint a clinical lead for men's health, experts have warned.

Men's health: practices urged to audit care
Men's health: practices urged to audit care

A report from the Men’s Health Expert Policy Group, published on Tuesday, said a failure to prioritise men’s health has led to failure to spot warning signs of serious illness among men.

Erectile dysfunction and testosterone deficiency syndrome can indicate a higher risk of developing serious cardiovascular disease among men, but the report warned that these risk factors were often overlooked.

It criticised the downsizing of the 2014/15 QOF, which saw the removal of two indicators aimed at incentivising GPs to ask men with diabetes about erectile dysfunction, which it described as a missed opportunity to reduce premature mortality among men.

Analyse retired QOF indicators

The report calls on NHS England to look in detail at how the two abandoned QOF indicators performed, and to consider how early diagnosis of CVD among men in primary care can be targeted.

Other recommendations included in the report are for the RCGP to work with Health Education England and other bodies to develop a national curriculum to train clinicians in treatment of men with erectile dysfunction and testosterone deficiency syndrome.

It also calls on CCGs to appoint clinical leads for men’s health, and to work with local health and wellbeing boards to ensure men’s health conditions are included in joint strategic needs assessments.

Address men's health

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said it was as important to address men’s specific health needs as much as women’s.

‘The big difference in charitable funding for women's health issues compared with men's is another sign of this inequality,’ he said.

‘It is, though, too simplistic to say that a men's health lead in every practice would solve the problem. What we really need is an increased capacity in general practice, with both more GPs and nurses offering more appointments, so making it easier for men to seek help when necessary and without feeling guilty about wasting a GP's time.’

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