The Men’s Health Forum has re-launched the Man MOT service with new statistics showing that men are still avoiding the doctor’s office.

The service, which was previously run by Pfizer, developer of the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, has now been handed over to the Men’s Health Forum, a non-profit charity that raises awareness for male health in England and Wales.

The Forum says that with over half (52%) of men saying that they go online to self-diagnose and treat, the importance of reaching men when and where they are already seeking health information is critical.

Of the 2,000 online consultations that took place on Man MOT since its launch three years’ ago, 57% addressed issues which men had not previously discussed with a healthcare professional.

But less than half (49%) said that they would use the Man MOT service again, and 58% said they would recommend it to a friend.

The MHF say that the need to encourage men to seek trustworthy health advice is more important than ever, given new statistics showing:

•    40% of men still die prematurely (before the age of 75)

•    Men are over 35% more likely to die from cancer than women in the UK 

•    Excluding gender-specific cancers, men are 67% more likely to die from the cancer   overall

•    One of the biggest threats to men’s health is circulatory disease which kills more men than any other condition, with men over 50% more likely to be affected than women

•    Additionally by 2015, more than a third of men (36%) are expected to be obese resulting in health complications, including heart disease and Type II diabetes 

The MHF say that men continue to avoid the healthcare system and visit their GP less frequently than women. In fact, only 55% of men visit their GP once or more a year compared with 72% of women, due to worrying about wasting their doctor’s time and/or fear or embarrassment, they add.

Since its original launch in July 2010, Man MOT has provided men with health information in a way they feel comfortable. Almost 72,000 men have visited the website and more than 2,000 one-to-one online consultations with a GP or expert, lasting on average 14 minutes and 20 seconds, have taken place.

The service has now been handed over to the MHF, which works on policy development, research and lobbying on behalf of male health. It was initially created by Pfizer in 2010 as part of a digital campaign to raise awareness about male health issues, such as erectile dysfunction and buying counterfeit medicines online, something men are far more likely to do than women.

It was meant as a short-term pilot but the firm kept extending the service given its internal popularity, and the success it was having in print and online as a health awareness campaign. The company has now decided, however, not to continue running the service itself, and has allowed the MHF to take control.

Martin Tod, chief executive of the Men’s Health Forum, said: “Too many men face health risks, but don’t seek medical advice. Man MOT has helped thousands of men get useful health information. The Men’s Health Forum has been proud to support Man MOT so far and is very pleased to have the opportunity to build on its success to help more men get the health advice they need.”