Letter: Unfair to men

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The Independent Culture
Sir: How grateful I am not to be a patient of Dr Brimblecombe (letter, 28 January). As a male GP, I have faced all the problems she so vividly describes, but in the next consultation, I am faced with a nervous, embarrassed late-middle-aged man who has suffered from erectile problems for some years,who is frankly terrified or plainly turned off by vacuum pumps and penile injections, but who has finally plucked up courage to broach the subject with someone professional who he feels will treat him sympathetically and non-judgementally.

I wonder if Dr Brimblecombe has paused to consider what message the Government's decision to set down limits to the availability of Viagra on the NHS sends out to men in this country. As their wives and girlfriends trail in to the surgery in their droves for smears, well-woman checks, HRT, mammography and ostoeporosis screening, men are dying prematurely in their thousands from heart disease, and yet here is the Government offering them yet another slap in the face, saying their health needs don't matter.

If rationing is an attempt to be fair to all, then the Government might start by looking at how much is spent on men compared with women, and ask themselves if the difference reflects true differences in male versus female mortality.

KEVAN TUCKER

Fence, Lancashire

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