December 6, 2021

Medical students moonlighting as sex workers need support not judgement, says BMA

Another resolution was carried at the same BMA annual conference: that medical students moonlighting as sex workers should be shielded from censure by universities and professional bodies.

The BMA, the delegates declared, must work with medical schools to develop specialised support services for student sex workers. They deserve an “environment free from judgment” and completely confidential.

The head of the BMA Medical Students Committee, Becky Bates, proposed the motion. She explained that: “The high cost of studying medicine and unacceptably low levels of financial support in the UK are a major part of why these medical students feel forced to choose this type of high risk work.”

This is a concern which emerges from time to time in the media. In 2012 the editor of the Student BMJ wrote that one in ten trainee doctors claims to know another student who has resorted to prostitution because of increased living costs and rising tuition fees.

Last month, ahead of the vote, Laura Watson, of the English Collective of Prostitutes, told the Daily Mail that the number of students contacting them for support had risen by a third over the last 12 months. “This is undoubtedly related to the costs of medical school, but also speaks to the scarcity of part-time jobs that students might, in the past, have used to supplement their income,” she said.