The Prostitution Licensing Authority has taken aim at the state government’s decision to scale back a Brisbane sexual health clinic, saying GPs were often ill-equipped to deal with sex workers’ needs.
In the government regulator’s 2013-14 annual report, tabled in Queensland Parliament last week, PLA chairman Manus Boyce said cuts to the Biala House sexual health clinic had noticeably impacted sex workers.
Thirty-two Biala medical employees, including doctors and nurses, were made redundant last year after the Metro North Hospital and Health Service decided sexual health advice and treatment could be provided elsewhere.
“This has meant a greater reliance by sex workers on general practitioners for sexual health checks,” Mr Boyce said.
“One problem with this is that not all GPs are familiar with the requirements for conducting sexual health checks of sex workers.”
Mr Boyce said the PLA planned to distribute resources for sex workers to take to GP consultations “to aid GP familiarity with the conduct of sexual health checks of workers”.
A spokesman for Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said while the MNHHS still provided services for people with complex sexual health needs, GPs were equipped to handle the rest.
“A GP is often the first point of contact in matters of personal health, so the primary health care sector is well placed to deliver non-complex sexual health services,” he said.
“A range of education and professional development activities have been delivered to strengthen the capacity of GPs and other primary health care providers to deliver non-complex sexual health services.
“Resources have also been developed to assist them in testing for HIV and sexually transmissible infections.”