A woman working with the national health service helpline 1177. Photo: Robert Davidsson/Sveriges Radio
national health helpline

Men and women get different health advice from helplines

Men and women get different advice when they call the national health service helpline. According to a study from Mälardalen University men more often get the advice to see a doctor while women are told to rest, news agency TT reports.

The study compared what advice different people with the same symptoms got when they called the national health service help line 1177, and found that even men more often than women were advised to go and see a doctor.

Inger K Holmström is a professor of nursing and the author of the study. She thinks that the advice varied because of men's and women's different conversational styles. She says that men presented facts whereas women said that they were worried something was wrong. Holmström is now starting an information campaign to educate people working with health service helplines about gender-based conversational styles.

Kim Nordlander, department head of the health service helpline 1177, says she hasn't had a chance to look at the study but says that it is crucial that men and women get the same treatment. Nordlander welcomes Holmström's courses on how men's and women's conversational styles differ.

"The courses sound like a great idea and a good way of tackling the problem," Nordlander says to news agency TT.

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