Admittedly, I’m viewing this through the beer-goggles of yer average male doctor, so you could say I’m biased. Then again, that could be lazy stereotyping, so hear me out.
The headlines of ‘Women’s health: mandatory training for all new doctors’ did tickle my Y chromosome. This is just one of a raft of recommendations from the Government’s recently-published ‘Women’s health strategy’, the idea being to tackle the factoid that women get a raw deal from health services.
It’s based on the responses of 100,000, uh, ‘people’, and the level of argument can perhaps be gauged by the BBC report’s suggestion that rises in gynaecology waiting times and issues around HRT prescribing reflect deep seated sexism.
So, yeah, medical students and new doctors will be frogmarched to lectures on women’s health and have all the sexism MCQ’d out of them, which is good. That’ll be in addition to the current curricula which mandate obstetrics, gynaecology, screening, contraception et al, and at last redresses the balance with men’s health teaching, which currently comprises, er, sod-all.
And while the Minister for Women’s Health insisted that, ‘Tackling the gender health gap will not be easy’, the Minister for Men’s Health was strangely silent on the matter. What he, or she, might have said, had he, or she, existed, was this: ‘Hang on a minute, we’ve been banging on for years that it’s men who neglect their health, are medically illiterate, die younger than women, should make more use of health services and should examine their testicles every five minutes, can I go on holiday during ‘Men’s Heath Week’ now then?’
All of which is equally nonsensical. Which is why I’ve railed against the standard non-scientific Men’s Health tub-thumping over the years, too.
So all I’m asking is, please, could someone tell me as a health professional, which lazy, populist, politicised, non-evidence based, doctor-bashing, health-gender stereotype should I be following at the moment? Alternatively can we just stop all this crap?
Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of Copperfield’s blogs here