Unemployment can help men's health, says minister

BEN Bradshaw, the health minister, was last night accused of "breathtaking stupidity" after suggesting there could be an "advantage" to men being unemployed as they were more likely to see their GP.

But he said the recession was not good for people's health and stressed that the NHS was there to support people hit by the economic crisis.

Mr Bradshaw said men were often "notoriously reluctant" to see the doctor, and he claimed more of them sought health advice and treatment if they were out of work.

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But the Conservatives seized on the comments, labelling them "crass" and "insensitive", and they demanded Mr Bradshaw apologise. The party chairman, Eric Pickles said the remarks summed up "the government's approach to the recession" and accused it of "casting the unemployed adrift".