Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Anyone for tennis at BMA Awards

I was at the British Medical Association’s Book Awards last night. It was an awe-inspiring event for someone who gave up sciences at 16. I haven’t seen so many doctors in the same place since a fellow patient provided free drinks to celebrate the end of his treatment.

My book 'The User’s Guide to the Male Body' was highly commended in the category Popular Medicine – an interestingly named category as taking medicine is anything but. It didn’t win – beaten by a cracking book on the ins and outs of condoms.

The BMA also give out awards for what they call patient information, a category in which the MHF’s malehealth was highly commended a few years ago and for which our Yorkshire Man written by MHF president Dr Ian Banks was commended this year. The men’s health citation went to a booklet for men with enlarged prostates by the Urology Informed Decision Making Project. Well done to them.

However, if these awards are any guide, men’s health in the UK is rather like British men’s tennis over the last decade or two – a couple of good players and not a lot else. Apart from those three titles – mine, Ian’s and the Project’s – there were few other nominations that could have been considered ‘men’s health’. By contrast I counted five nominations in the patient information category alone about breasts and breast cancer including the winner from Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Men’s health still has a very long way to go before it is truly mainstreamed. Women’s health by contrast is like French men’s tennis – a new semi-finalist in every competition.

The overall patient info winner was the healthy hearts kit from the British Heart Foundation. The overall winner of the BMA Medical Book of the Year Award 2010 was 'Surgical Exposures in Orthopaedics: The Anatomic Approach'. Ah, so that’s the secret of success: a catchy title!

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