The Men's Health Forum has responded to Professor Dame Carol Black's consultation as part of her independent review into 'how best to support benefit claimants with potentially treatable conditions, such as obesity or addictions to drugs and alcohol, back into work'.
The Forum pointed out just how few men are helped by existing weight-loss services. Our freedom of information request showed that just 21% of those on weight-loss programme are men – yet 67% of men are overweight or obese compared to 57% of women. Even though there are 20.7 million overweight men in the UK, the local authorities charged with helping them are reaching just 0.1% of that figure.
The Forum called for the Job Centre new claimant interview and the flexible support fund to be used to identify and then address health needs. Our response cited an example from our report Sick of Being Unemployed of good practice whereby an employment advisor from Tomorrow’s People (a specialist employment charity focusing on helping the hardest back to work) became part of the James Wigg Camden GP Surgery’s team and received referrals from both GPs and the reception team.
The Forum also pointed out that those with the most experience of poor, unstable employment were also those least resilient to the health problems associated with unemployment. Men in low socioeconomic groups in unstable forms of employment are too often unrecognised and unsupported by the current provisions.
The full response is attached as a PDF.