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Chief Medical Officer refuses multiple requests to place equal focus on the health of men and women

The Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, has written to the Coalition to confirm that she has no plans to follow her 2015 Annual Report on women’s health The Health of the 51% with an equivalent report on the health of men.

Her refusal follows multiple requests, first in the form of a joint letter in March 2016 prior to establishment of the Coalition, and then in March 2017 on behalf of the Coalition.

The Coalition steering group is particularly concerned by her decision, not only due to the many grave health issues affecting men and boys in the UK that would benefit from the much needed focus such a report would offer, but also because the CMO has refused to offer any explanation as to why she has chosen not to give equal focus on the health of men as she rightly has done on the health of women.

The steering group, along with members whose particular remit focuses on the health of men and boys, are currently considering options on what our most effective response should be including whether we produce our own one, similar to Ireland and Australia.

Below is the full sequence of events and requests that preceded the Chief Medical Officer’s decision.

1) The CMO’s report for 2014 “Health of the 51%” is on women’s health, and is published in December 2015.

2) In January 2016, Men’s Health Forum ask for the 2015 report, to be published later in 2016, to be on men’s health – the CMO refuses and does not give any commitment to publishing a future report on men’s health.

3) Three months later, in March 2016, the first joint letter responds to the CMO refusal, urging her to reconsider and asking for an explanation as to why she is not continuing the precedent, and publishing her next report on men’s health:

4) A month later, in April 2016, the CMO responds by reiterating that the 2015 report, to be published in 2016, is going to be on genomics and is already underway, but that she would consider the 2016 report – to be published in 2017 – to be on men’s health:

CMO Response to first request, 27 April 2016:

“As I stated in my letter to Martin Tod, my next annual report will be on the subject of genomics, and work is already under way on this in preparation for publication later this year.

“I will, of course, consider your request when deciding on the subject of future annual reports. I do have a list of specialist areas of science in mind for the subject of subsequent annual reports, but I have yet to make my final decision.”

5) In fact, in December 2016, despite her statement that she was unable to report on men’s health because her report was already underway on genomics, the CMO’s report is in fact published on the health of baby boomers:

6) In March 2017, a second joint letter is sent to the CMO – this time as the MBC – asking for the 2016 report – to be published in 2017 – to be on men’s health (and outlining in detail why this is important):

7) One month later, in April 2017, the CMO refuses and says the next two year’s reports had already been decided:

“I have already started work on my next two annual reports, so I am afraid I am unable to consider new subjects currently.”