EMHF works on a variety of projects with a range of stakeholders to improve the health of men and boys in Europe. For more information, email via our Contact page.

MEN, WORK AND CANCER: developing a nurse-led action plan on post-cancer diagnosis self-care and self-management support for men in paid employment

Men are much more likely than women to develop and die from cancer. Survival rates are improving and many more men are living for longer with cancer. This trend coincides with a rising retirement age in the UK and across Europe, meaning that increasing numbers of men with cancer are and will be in work. It is therefore essential to develop interventions that support men living with cancer who are in work with self-care and self-management. These interventions can promote healthy living and enable men to self-manage cancer disease and treatment symptoms and remain within the workforce.

Nurses play a key role in occupational health and many work in organisations that employ significant numbers of men. However, most have not received training in men’s health or have adapted their services to take account of gender differences and men specifically. The project will empower nurses by providing them with an action plan for effective work with men living with cancer in the workplace.

The principal outcomes will be:

  • A report on the symposium held June 2017 at the RCN
  • A literature review of the background issues and a mapping exercise of relevant interventions.
  • The publication and dissemination of a report setting out an action plan for nurse-led work in the field.
  • The publication and dissemination of a self-help guide specifically for men of working age with cancer which nurses and others can use to support their work: Working With Cancer (published November 2017)
  • Adoption of the action plan by a wide range of relevant organisations.

This project is funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing as part of their themed grant programme for 2016.

Contacts: Tracy Herd, Project Lead

PRIMARY CARE: Improving Men’s Access and Outcomes

Primary healthcare services are central to strategies to improve men’s health in terms of prevention, early diagnosis and treatment. Currently, however, primary care services (general practice, dentists, pharmacy, optometry, nursing and others) are under-used by men with adverse impacts on their health, their families and communities, employers and health budgets.

There is consistent evidence that men of different ages, ethnicities and social backgrounds access health services less frequently than women. It has been suggested that men’s lower contact rates with primary care services are linked to higher hospitalisation rates and that, when they do use primary care, men tend to ask fewer questions and GP consultation times are shorter than for women. Men are also less likely to make use of preventative health checks, including for oral health and eyesight, and screening (e.g. for bowel cancer).

In 2013, EMHF began a work programme which will lead to improvements in men’s use of primary care services. The first stage was a Roundtable meeting in Brussels in June 2013 which brought together a wide range of organisations representing every area of primary care to learn from their expertise and experience and to determine how best to tackle the problems.

The report, Men’s Health and Primary Care: Improving access and outcomes, summarises the discussions at the Roundtable and will be used to inform and guide EMHF’s work as well as for further consultations with other organisations in Europe.

The issues covered at the Brussels Roundtable were also considered in an article, Men and primary care: improving access and outcomes, published in the journal Trends in Urology and Men’s Health (September/October 2013). A second article, Men and Primary Care: Improving Access and Outcomes, was published in Eurohealth (March 2014) and a third, A step into no man’s land, in Practice Management (February 2016).

In October 2013, EMHF held a workshop at EHF Gastein to discuss the findings of the Brussels Roundtable. The report, A Step Into No Man’s Land: Improving men’s use of primary care services in Europe, presents the conclusions of that event.

EMHF plans to hold roundtables on men’s use of primary care services in a range of individual countries over the next few years. The first national roundtable meeting, for England, took place in London on 2 July 2014. The report of this event can be viewed here. The second roundtable, for Northern Ireland, was held in Belfast on 12 November 2014 and the report of this event can be viewed here. The third roundtable in the series took place in Gibraltar on 19 May 2015; the report of this event can be viewed here. EMHF’s report on its roundtable on men’s use of primary care in Denmark, held on 28 October 2015, can be viewed here.

The next roundtables will be held in Sweden and Ireland in 2016.

As part of this work programme, EMHF has also produced a report on how men’s use of over-the-counter medicines can be improved. This report, Men’s Health: An untapped OTC market, can be viewed here.

MEN AND PHARMACY: a project to improve men’s use of pharmacy services across Europe

Men have shorter lives than women in every country in Europe and experience a higher mortality rate than women for almost every comparable major cause of death.

Part of the explanation lies in men’s generally ineffective use of primary care services including pharmacy. In the UK, men visit a pharmacy four times a year on average compared to 18 times for women.
This poorer use of services can be explained by a combination of the nature of masculinity, lower levels of health literacy, less male targeted health information and less awareness of signs and symptoms that can contribute to later diagnosis and worse outcomes.

However, some developments in community pharmacy provides an opportunity to improve men’s access, including the growth in the male grooming market, the increasing over-the-counter availability of male-focused medicines that used to be prescription-only and the growing role of pharmacies in providing lifestyle advice, health checks, screening kiosks and vaccinations.

The aim of the Pharmacy and Men Project (PAMP) is to explore practical and replicable ways of implementing small and sustainable changes in community pharmacies across Europe that would improve men’s effective use of the service.

A pilot study is being conducted in the Netherlands with the potential for rollout across other European countries.
The project will began by June 2016 and will be completed by December 2018.

PAMP will achieve the following principal outcomes:

  • Development and dissemination of practical, low-cost and sustainable interventions that improve men’s effective use of pharmacy services and public health.
  • Encourage greater interest and activity in the field of men’s health by community pharmacy.
  • Contribute to the development of policy on pharmacy and primary care that takes more account of the health needs of men.
  • Make a positive impact on the health of men by, for example, detecting a significant number of cases of previously undiagnosed hypertension.

Contacts: Tracy Herd, Project Lead