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Is it disguised sexism? Healthcare

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Hi guys.

I've just read that (this is an approximation) women have eight times more spent on their healthcare via the NHS than men. Whilst I don't believe all things should be equal because of course women have to go through childbirth etc. I think you have to be blind to not realise that there is more 'buzz' about women's health issues i.e. breast cancer / smear tests.

I mean, men are the biggest sufferers of mental health issues with 75% of suicides being young men. Men are more likely to die than women across all health ranges. Yet still money is poured into breast cancer research (not a bad thing, but I'm talking about opportunity cost) yet men's issues receive comparitively less.

Like I said though I don't think it should be equal obviously if the scope of breast cancer hurts more people than testicular cancer, but its the general trend of women's illnesses getting preference for medical research / care / funding than men's. I can't believe it is deliberate of course that would be ridiculous but neither is women being paid less across different sectors. My theory is that its one of profit i.e. women visit doctors more so developing drugs for them makes more money for the companies. The problem in the free market system is that it neglects those who aren't the modal customer. We have seeked to correct this in many sectors i.e. work / education where people who weren't white in particular didn't do as well (or who weren't men in the job sector) but because healthcare is a bit more of a specialist subject its not often adressed. Really the statistic of women having 8x more spent on them than men was shocking especially considering men suffer more from heart disease and other similar ailments which are pretty serious.
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I wouldn't say men are the biggest sufferers of mental health problems. The big difference between men and women is that women are far more likely to seek help for their problems. This accounts for more money being spent on women in the mental health area, and the high instances of male suicides

    The other issues I couldn't really comment on without seeing some figures
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Also when you compare the attempted suicide rate they are a lot closer, its just that men tend to pick more dramatic methods and therefore more likely to succeed.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    budda wrote: »
    Also when you compare the attempted suicide rate they are a lot closer, its just that men tend to pick more dramatic methods and therefore more likely to succeed.

    We all know men know how to do a job properly [/bad taste]
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's pretty obvious women get all kinds of free prescreening men don't get - having said that women seem to have a lot more go wrong then men at an earlier age.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Does that include free contraceptives? Because that'd push it up a lot despite benefiting both genders it just happens that the women have to dose themselves up with hormones rather than the man.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i think a big part of this is because steriotypicaly a man wouldnt go to the doctors for something more minor as a women might. im not being sexist but some if not quite a few men think they have to be rough and tough and all that jazz therefore wouldnt go to the doctors for say a chest infection they would ride it out where a women would go to the doctors. im not saying women are wimps im saying that alot of men always want to be manly if you get me. but yeah 8x seems like a hell of alot but i dont know tbh.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i think a big part of this is because steriotypicaly a man wouldnt go to the doctors for something more minor as a women might. im not being sexist but some if not quite a few men think they have to be rough and tough and all that jazz therefore wouldnt go to the doctors for say a chest infection they would ride it out where a women would go to the doctors. im not saying women are wimps im saying that alot of men always want to be manly if you get me. but yeah 8x seems like a hell of alot but i dont know tbh.

    I can disprove that theory, the manflu!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    RE: mental health

    Maybe men are less likely to seek help than women, thus more end up with suicide?

    Let us not forget however, that breast cancer affects men too. It's less common, but it happens.

    I don't know why so much is spent on breast cancer... is that NHS money, or cash raised by charities?

    I don;t think it's sexism though, unless the woman or man is being given prefferential treatment for their gender. :confused:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What's the source?

    Also factor in pre- and neo-natal care, which is a biggie.

    There's also a lot of research and focus on breast cancer, because if detected it can be early it can be relatively easily treated (compared to some other cancers). Nothing to do with women and more for the Health Service putting in money where it can get a big bang for its buck.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What's the source?

    I want to know that too. And is it that 8 times as much is spent on women than men, or that 8 times is spent on specificially female issues than is spent on specifically male issues? And if so, maybe women have 8 times as many issues that only women get? After all, what to men get that women don't? After all, I think that women have about 5 types of cancer that only or mainly women get (breast, cervical, womb, ovarian, vulval), whereas men only have 2 types (bollock and prostate). So if you're looking at spending that is exclusively male or female, maybe this is a factor. But overall, more men die from cancer than women, so I can't see that being a factor in difference in overall spending on men and women, so I'm guessing it's about spending on exclusively male and female health problems. Anyway, deaths from cancer:

    cs_mort_f1.1

    And survival rates:

    cs_surv_f1.1

    There's also everything to do with childbirth.

    It's also worth bearing in mind that any sort of degenerative disease will generally affect women a lot more, such as osteoporosis.

    But as for men being less likely to go to the doctors, surely that would increase the spending on men? Preventitive measures and catching problems early on will result in cheaper treatment on average, I think. Sp while it might effect survival rates, I doubt it would reduce spending on men's health.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Remember a few years ago when Nice refused to allow Herceptin to be prescribed on the NHS? This was described as a "wonder drug" to deal with breast cancer. Patricia Hewitt, then the Health Secretary, orders Nice to overturn this decision. Ministers are not supposed to intervene in this process, so why did she do it? Simple. Because there's votes in it.

    That may sound cruel, but there's a lot of politics involved in this debate.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    But as for men being less likely to go to the doctors, surely that would increase the spending on men? Preventitive measures and catching problems early on will result in cheaper treatment on average, I think. Sp while it might effect survival rates, I doubt it would reduce spending on men's health.

    Except that women going to see the GP far more than men do will massively increase the cost of primary care services for women.

    It's not a representative sample or anything like that, but an interesting anecdote. Was sitting round with a group of people from uni, the most times any of the blokes had been to the GP in their 3 years at uni was twice and most of them had never been. In contrast the girls were all registered with a GP in the city and had all been that term. Generally for specifically female problems, or prescription allergy treatments. The girls were going to the GP practise at least 8x as much as the guys were.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I noticed it on a forum and then did a google and there are a few relatively outdated news sources on it. But i thought it would make good discussion material. Also Namaste I was wondering whether to call it sexism or not, it's not really - I probably should have used gender inequity.

    Guardian 2001: Men's Health Shock
    BBC 2000: Action on killer cancer
    BBC 2000: Plans to close men's health gap
    Department of Health 2007: Gender Equity Audit Report
    Gender is a key determinant of health status. It is a central element in how effectively people use particular services and in the likelihood of particular health outcomes. The resulting inequalities affect both sexes in specific instances – but the health of men in particular is widely accepted as being poorer than it need be.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I haven't read through the whole report. The Guardian suggest the health disparity is due to
    Men are more likely to smoke, to have an unhealthy diet, to be overweight, and to expose themselves to sun. They are three times as likely to be alcoholic as women, and four times as likely to be registered drug addicts.

    However, men are about half as likely to visit their GP as women.

    The eight times is on gender specific health issues (and again I ask whether natal care is included in this)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The eight times is on gender specific health issues (and again I ask whether natal care is included in this)

    I believe that it probably does include natal care (if my interpretation of that is correct lol, as in baby stuff!) however 8x is still a massive difference. It's not wrong for them to have a difference - thats only natural as obviously with babies and stuff women need more care and it's only right we pay to make sure babies and mothers are looked after properly. But the issue becomes clouded when we look at furthering spending. If we already pay more for women than men but get another £10m to spend for example, it's easy for someone in the NHS to go 'if we spend this on breast cancer screening it will give the most benefit because women are the biggest "consumers" of healthcare'. That makes fine logic on its own, but keep adding it up and it leads to big discrepencies between genders.

    You can also observe a similar effect in any situation where there is a gender or race equality divide, I mean look at the workplace. If you are a manager and you reckon a woman may be less productive than a man because she is more likely to have a baby, and you have 200 positions available, you might end up hiring 100% men even if women are only 15% less productive on average. That's one of the reasons why they imposed laws specifically to take it out of the hands of managers and make them compelled to hire women, because if you are missing out on all the good skilled women then the economy is in trouble. I mean part of Ireland's boom economy is down to them getting women in the workplace...

    Whilst that's about workplaces I think the comparison is valid. By underinvesting in men's health care we are doing the whole country a diservice. On a case by case basis it makes sense to spend more on the bigger consumer, but then we see the effect is inequitible.

    edit: I have seen plenty of sources which are argue without evidence that part of the reasons is because men are 'reckless' with their lives. Is this a prejudiced perspective? We see men who drive fast cars / get into fights / have bad habits and its too easy to draw the simple conclusion that it encompasses all men.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Except that women going to see the GP far more than men do will massively increase the cost of primary care services for women.

    But that was my point. By going, they would actually be saving money. By not going, men should cost more in the long run, because problems become more difficult and more expensive to treat the longer you leave them.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    But that was my point. By going, they would actually be saving money. By not going, men should cost more in the long run, because problems become more difficult and more expensive to treat the longer you leave them.

    I think she meant about things you have done semi regularly whether there is an issue or not like smear tests and mammograms (I think?). So if a guy actually has cancer and finds it he might go.. but he wont go every couple of years for a routine check up whereas women of certain groups are heavily advised to do so. :chin: I think that's what SM meant anyway
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It wasn't even that kind of regular check up program I was reffering to.

    Out of the people I know with hayfever/allergy stuff, guys and girls, the guys battle on with over the counter stuff that doesn't work, the girls make appointments and get something more suitable on prescription. Generally that takes a couple of appointments a year.

    There are a lot of girls/women on the pill or some other form of contraception, that needs regular appointments. Lots of females suffer with painful periods at some point in their lives and end up seeing the doctor to get a suitable treatment.

    That's before you get onto things like minor injuries which my personal experience seems to suggest that girls will get checked out whereas guys will leave to see what happens.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    So your theory on the discrepency is mainly because men dont choose to use the services provided which, on one hand, isn't massively verifiable so it makes it difficult to pin it down - and on the other hand if it is the case it opens questions about why is this so, is it the way health services are marketed? I mean when was the last time doctors encouraged men to look after their health? Breast cancer and checking for lumps has been ingrained into women but I still think there is a general level of ignorance about testicular cancer (who here honestly says they check their balls every month?) and I don't even know about prostate cancer although I think its one of those that are difficult to check for.

    I wouldn't like to speculate but it seems to be coming down to old fashioned values that men should be macho and not complain when they're ill and really in this day and age that's really not on. I mean men are ridiculed for taking ailments seriously in a light hearted way - 'manflu' for example - but its part of the general attitude of society that men don't need looking after (and then by inference, women do).

    Things that are so important to everyone - education, health, welfare - seem in my honest opinion to be letting men down and there also seems to be not a lot of bother about it. Its hopefully just in the numbers but they do seem worrying - boys do worse than girls at school, men have 1/8th of the money spent on them in healthcare than women, far more men than women end up homeless, men are far more likely to be involved in crime, the list goes on... (the homelessness one is interesting again though in that it seems 'ok' for a man to be homeless in the sense he can look after himself, a woman to be homeless is shocking)

    While it has always been easy to pin a lot of these on characteristic traits my personal opinion based on my readings is that men and women aren't *that* different, although obviously there are differences, and it is the 'nurture' that makes us who we are.

    So I can't get my head around this. Either I'm seeing things, or they're staring us in the face in the statistics and we don't want to deal with it.

    edit: Fundamentally, is this inequality of health provision a possible sign that as a society, we believe that women have a greater right to life than men?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    edit: Fundamentally, is this inequality of health provision a possible sign that as a society, we believe that women have a greater right to life than men?
    Think about this. If you go back far enough, you can find plenty of evidence that society believes women have a greater right to life than men. In the caveman days, it was the men that went out hunting, it was the men who sometimes had to risk their lives in order to feed their families. Women were the ones who gave birth, the ones who bring babies into the world. No women means no babies, and no babies means no society. Men were more disposable than women.

    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    Fundamentally, is this inequality of health provision a possible sign that as a society, we believe that women have a greater right to life than men?[/B]

    I'm still not convinced there's an inequality in provision, there's an inequality in uptake and I don't know whether that's down to marketing or the difference in men/women.

    An otherwise healthy teenage girl will have been into the doctors through her teenage years for advice about painful periods etc. A teeenage guy with similar health may well not go to the doctor at all in his teenage years. One is used to going, one isn't, there she is more likely to make an appointment that him.

    I'm not sure where you get this fixation that women have self care ingrained and men don't. I've never seen a poster about checking your breasts, I've seen loads about checking testes.

    You ask who here honestly checks their balls each month and I suspect it's a higher % of the guys that do than the girls check their breasts for one simple reason. Blokes play with their balls, girls don't play with their breasts so while a guy might not examine them he feel them a damn site more often that a girl feels her breasts.

    As I see it, demand for health care provision from men and women is very different which in turn leads to a difference in spending.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    stargalaxy wrote: »
    In the caveman days, it was the men that went out hunting, it was the men who sometimes had to risk their lives in order to feed their families. Women were the ones who gave birth, the ones who bring babies into the world. No women means no babies, and no babies means no society. Men were more disposable than women.

    Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

    Except you are forgetting just how dangerous giving birth used to be (and still is in some parts of the world).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    budda wrote: »
    Except you are forgetting just how dangerous giving birth used to be (and still is in some parts of the world).

    I think that's missing star galaxies point, my suggestion / question was do we consider women to have a greater 'right to life' than men, stargalaxy says yes because they historically fulfill this important child birthing need. Not sure where death during childbirth fits into that.
    I'm still not convinced there's an inequality in provision, there's an inequality in uptake and I don't know whether that's down to marketing or the difference in men/women.

    I get what you're saying but I'm coming at it from a wider angle - why is there is difference in uptake? I don't believe like I said that there are massive fundamental differences between men and women and I do believe that they are ingrained. Period pains can only account for so much of that. And we can't just say 'well, its just that men don't go doctors as much' - if its negatively affecting their health then they should be encouraged to go to the doctors specifically.

    As for the balls / breasts checking thing, I think we're both probably assuming too much. I don't habitually play with my balls kbut at least the girls I know they're pretty clued up on cancer and go for the smear tests and know to check their bits for lumps. Obviously that's just my experience. It's not a fixation of mine, it's just an observation that what we are telling young boys isn't getting through.

    Finally, you believe it's down to a difference in demand, but although I can acknowledge that this will account for a lot of it I don't believe it accounts for all of the discrepency, it's a combination of push and pull, and it does tie into the other points I made about other areas (education / welfare) where males are falling behind when there is no logical reason they should be. The only reasons people (generally speaking) can come up with is 'its nature' - but after the emancipation of women and going through all that as a civilization I thought we were past prejudging what someone does or doesn't do based on their gender. If men aren't accessing healthcare enough its because its not being made accessible to them (in a way they want to use it) and making healthcare accessible is part and parcel of the overall provision of healthcare.

    Looking at the campaigns about getting women equal pay I want to know why there isn't a campaign for equal health. Equal education. I still am open minded though and am happy to accept differences when they are fair and justified but the more research / reading I do the more it seems like these discrepencies between men and women when weighted in favour of women (at least in western society) do not really raise any eyebrows.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    I think that's missing star galaxies point, my suggestion / question was do we consider women to have a greater 'right to life' than men, stargalaxy says yes because they historically fulfill this important child birthing need. Not sure where death during childbirth fits into that.

    He was suggesting that cave men were the only sex to take on risks (hunting) yet I would argue that childbirth would have been just as a significant risk.

    As for whether women have a greater 'right to life' - its an unanswerable question because it depends entirely on who you ask and in what situations.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Frankly any real man would follow the Birkenhead Drill and say 'yes, women do have a greater right to life and that's how it should be.'
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Frankly any real man would follow the Birkenhead Drill and say 'yes, women do have a greater right to life and that's how it should be.'

    I agree that people would say that, but the 'thats how it should be part' - isn't that just entrenched gender roles that we should be trying to eliminate? Otherwise we could argue equally 'a woman's place is in the kitchen, and that's how it should be.'
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    I agree that people would say that, but the 'thats how it should be part' - isn't that just entrenched gender roles that we should be trying to eliminate? Otherwise we could argue equally 'a woman's place is in the kitchen, and that's how it should be.'

    You can try and eliminate it, but I think that the Birkenhead Drill is a fundamental sign of decency and even if no-one else follows it and you all push your way to the front of the lifeboats, I won't. Children, women, men in that order.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You can try and eliminate it, but I think that the Birkenhead Drill is a fundamental sign of decency and even if no-one else follows it and you all push your way to the front of the lifeboats, I won't. Children, women, men in that order.

    I agree with you, but don't you see how it's a predetermined gender role? Imagine you were a woman, you could argue in exactly the same way how it is 'dutiful' to stay at home and make sure your family gets a proper home cooked meal, make sure everything is clean for them etc. and that's the way it should be.

    Both predetermined gender roles but one is seen as unfair and the other is seen as honourable. :chin:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    I agree with you, but don't you see how it's a predetermined gender role? Imagine you were a woman, you could argue in exactly the same way how it is 'dutiful' to stay at home and make sure your family gets a proper home cooked meal, make sure everything is clean for them etc. and that's the way it should be.

    Both predetermined gender roles but one is seen as unfair and the other is seen as honourable. :chin:

    And...?

    I'd prefer to do the right thing that not do it just because some overweight sociology lecturer says that women and children first is a sexist construct.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    And...?

    I'd prefer to do the right thing that not do it just because some overweight sociology lecturer says that women and children first is a sexist construct.

    And prior to the feminism movement most women held the same view about fulfilling female gender roles and being a dutiful wife and mother. Everyone even today is still 'trained' to either be a man or a be a woman. It has lessened but the main focus has been on emancipating women and you prove my point that men are still 'slaves' to their gender roles in many cases.

    There is nothing wrong with self sacrifice in that situation and anyone man or woman who did that would be 'honourable' but say there was one spot left and a 20 year old woman and a 20 year old man, you would 'expect' the man to give up the space and he would feel obliged to do so as well. His right to choose to be selfish has been diminished by gender expectations.

    Now a sinking ship is an extreme example but this kind of gender training filters all the way down and we are still teaching young boys to act like a 'real man' should. An issue that has been noted as affecting young girls as well and is starting slowly to be eliminated after years of campaigning and making people realise that the gender roles are restricting people's freedom. But even in the 21st century there is literally no campaigning at all at emancipating men from their gender roles - presumably because people think it's wrong to support men's issues since we have 'had it so good'.
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