Medical students are putting their careers at risk by turning to prostitution to fund their studies, it has been claimed.
One in ten students now claim to know someone who is using prostitution to pay university fees – more than twice as many as ten years ago, according to a medical student writing in the Student BMJ.
Author Jodi Dixon, a final year student at the University of Birmingham, noted the ‘obvious correlation’ between soaring tuition fees and the prevalence of prostitution among students.
Ms Dixon warned that although there are no medical school rules preventing students from working in the sex industry, students were expected to abide by GMC guidance.
But she concluded that because there is no official guidance on the matter, there was no clear answer for students.
An accompanying editorial looks at the case of a medical student who faced either prostitution or ‘dropping out of medical school’. The anonymous author argues that ‘if studies are not grossly affected by how they are funded… then it doesn’t matter how we make a living’.
His fellow medical students had feelings of ‘condemnation’ and ‘disgust’ towards a medical student using prostitution to pay off his debts, the Student BMJ said.
Sarah Walker, spokesperson for the English Collective of Prostitutes which campaigns for womens’ safety and the decriminalisation of prostitution said the organisation had received calls from medical students seeking help and advice.
She told Pulse: ‘There has been a significant increase among students of all kinds since the switch from grants to loans and the cut to educational maintenance allowance.
‘It’s no surprise that medical students are turning to prostitution: We have students coming to us who already face £30,000 worth of debt. Medical students can have £70,000. Statistics suggest there are an average of 35 applications for every job so it’s no surprise they have to find other ways to get by. It’s young womens’ poverty and lack of resources that are causing this.’
By Alisdair Stirling