28 / 01 / 2009
NHS South West
Plymouth Teaching Primary Care Trust (PCT) was established as both a provider and commissioner of services in April 2001 and gained teaching status in 2003. It serves a population of 244,000 and employs around 2,700 staff. There are 57 GP practices across Plymouth and over 15 community clinics.
Plymouth Teaching is seen as the lead for the 11 PCTs of Devon and Cornwall, and is a leading NHS organisation for creating partnerships that help to make the best use of the limited resources, improve health, and deliver wider objectives for social and economic regeneration.
We reviewed and analysed local public health data and identified that health inequalities in relation to men accessing health services existed in a particular community.
We worked in partnership with the Men's Health Forum and came up with the idea of running men's health MOT sessions in the community to mark Men's Health week.
The team set about targeting the local male population through:
- the local press
- leaflet drops
- advertising in the local community (shops, post office etc)
Sessions ran over a week, both during the day and evening, in a variety of venues: from pubs, car boot sales, supper clubs to a healthy living centre.
During the 'drop-in' sessions, men could choose to have their blood pressure taken; cholesterol and blood sugars checked or receive advice on a range of lifestyle issues including:
- a balanced diet
- weight management (body mass index (BMI) measured)
- smoking cessation
- emotional and mental well being
Appointments were available for those who preferred a more structured session.
Funding from the project came from the PCTs public health budget.
Four sessions took place in the week with between 30-35 men attending each one.
Two questionnaires were used to evaluate the week:
- a general evaluation about the usefulness of the session; and
- a questionnaire assessing men's health awareness and needs.
The feedback gathered from the general questionnaires was very positive. Men liked the sessions, particularly the informality and the fact that they were held in non-medical environments. They would like to see more taking place in the future.
The health awareness and needs questionnaire showed some good general health awareness but a gap in men's diet and nutritional needs.
As a result of the sessions the team were able pick up health problems early on and introduce preventative measures particularly around obesity and high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
The team intend to run male health sessions on a quarterly basis and continue to run a week long timetable of session during Men's health week.
Angela Saxby, Equality and Diversity Lead at Plymouth Teaching PCT
Angela.Saxby@pcs-tr.swest.nhs.uk or 01752 314172