The health strategy, Quality and Fairness — A Health System For You, calls for the development of a policy for men's health and health promotion. The national health promotion strategy 2000-2005 also identified the development of a national plan for men's health as an important initiative. In this regard, the health promotion unit of my Department has supported the appointment of a men's health research officer, in the South Eastern Health Board, to research the role of gender and masculinity on Irish men's concept of health, their knowledge, beliefs and attitudes to health and illness, health behaviours and risk behaviours, and the barriers that Irish men perceive in accessing the health services.
The health promotion unit has also commenced a consultation process with all relevant stakeholders, including the Men's Health Forum, for the development of the men's health policy. The outcome of this consultation process and the findings of the research will inform the development of the policy.