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GP hours affecting men's health care

Extending practice opening hours is vital for improving men's mental health, health minister Rosie Winterton has told MPs.

Speaking in a parliamentary debate on the issue, secured by Dr Howard Stoate, Dartford MP and a practising GP, the minister said GPs' opening hours had been highlighted as restricting working men's access.

She said: 'We must ask whether there is a barrier at that first stage and find out how to make it easier for people to access health care services.'

Dr Stoate had earlier called on the Government to fund a detailed study into the levels of 'male psychological distress in all its manifestations'.

He said: 'The public sector as a whole, not least the NHS, is not yet preparing for its new responsibilities, even though they have the potential dramatically to improve service delivery for men and for women.

'We must avoid at all costs a society in which chronic poor mental health, as well as its

effect on other areas of health and society, is endemic in men and repeated from generation to generation.'

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