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NHS Lothian cuts funds to sex worker outreach services – and puts prostitutes at risk

December 2nd, 2008

Dr Petra

SCOT-PEP is an outreach and support service that works with women involved in the sex industry in Edinburgh. They have recently discovered NHS funding for their invaluable work is going to be cut – which will have negative repercussions for the health wellbeing of prostitutes.

Below is a statement from SCOT-PEP explaining the situation, and information on what you can do if you feel the decision to cut funding is wrong.

On 26 November SCOT-PEP reluctantly announced that from 31 March 2009 it would cease to provide outreach and support services to women involved in the sex industry in Edinburgh. This follows a meeting with NHS Lothian, who have funded our services since 1995, where SCOT-PEP was informed that our funding was to be dramatically cut by two thirds. The Board and staff are agreed that the funds being offered would not allow us to provide an acceptable level of quality services and maintain the infrastructure required to provide the services and have decided to reject the offer.

This decision was extremely hard in the light of the current political climate of driving prostitution further underground by stigmatising and criminalising clients and others involved. SCOT-PEP’s withdrawal of services after 20 years of delivering support will leave the city without a dedicated service to ensure that the needs of sex workers are addressed.

No other agency in Scotland has challenged poor legislation and its impact; sought to change society’s attitudes towards sex workers; defended the human rights and promoted the dignity of those involved in sex work. SCOT-PEP WILL NOT STOP DOING THIS! We will continue this important role and will seek to restructure the organisation as a voluntary campaigning group bringing together sex workers and allies to argue for better legislation and services and ensure the voices of sex workers are not lost.

For further information email: ruth.morganthomas@scot-pep.org.uk

What you can do
If you wish to challenge the withdrawal of funding for services for sex workers in Edinburgh or the loss of a dedicated service for sex workers please contact the following:
Complaints Officer, Lothian NHS, Deaconess House, 148 Pleasance, Edinburgh EH8 9RS
Tel: 0131 536 9054 Email: lothian.communications@nhs.net

Cllr Paul Edie, Chair of Health and Social Care, City of Edinburgh Council, City Chambers, High St, Edinburgh EH1 1YJ Tel: 0131 200 2000 Email: paul.edie@edinburgh.gov.uk

or write to the Editors of the Evening News or Scotsman contact details can be found at

http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/contactus.aspx

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