Widening online health services could improve men’s health by reaching those who do not engage with traditional face-to-face NHS services, a leading health charity has said.
Allowing men to have online consultations, make GP appointments, use prescription services and access male-targeted health advice via NHS websites are among the suggestions proposed by the Men’s Health Forum (MHF) as part of Men’s Health Week.
Men have a lower life expectancy than women, with more than 42% of men dying before they reach 75, compared with 26% of women, and are 20% less likely to visit their doctor, meaning diagnoses take much longer.
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The MHF says that using digital technologies to provide health information can help overcome men’s traditional reluctance to use services such as GPs and pharmacies.
More than a third of males (34%) already use the internet to source health information, and this is expected to grow to 50% in the next two years, the MHF said.
Content aimed at men should be incorporated into NHS websites, and GP Consortia and Health and Wellbeing Boards should specifically consult men on such online developments, the MHF advised.
It also called for a crackdown on websites which illegally sell prescription-only drugs, and warned men to avoid buying from such sources.
MHF chief executive Peter Baker said: “The NHS should use a range of communication tools, including all the digital technologies, when considering the information needs of men.
“We see no reason why men - and women - should not be able to book a GP appointment online, consult GPs online and even receive their prescription online all via secure links.”
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