A right-leaning Health think tank has condemned the NHS for spending £700 a year on porn to assist male visitors to fertility clinics to produce samples.
2020health.org called for an immediate ban on the provision of such material, and suggested if men can't produce samples by willpower alone that they should produce their emissions at home and carry them to clinics.
2020health.org condemned the practice of providing smut in clinics as an unacceptable use of public funds which encourages an unhealthy attitude towards women in general, demeans female NHS workers, and is potentially harmful to the men exposed to the material.
The think tank surveyed 160 acute trusts and foundation trusts, of which 92 provided fertility services. Of those, 33 coughed to using pornography in their fertility clinics to assist in the production of sperm samples.
It found that it was mainly magazines that were used. Just six trusts used DVDs with one having lashed out £7350 on a viewing suite for its donaters.
A more enterprising attitude was shown by 15 trusts which managed to source free material. Six of these cases were donations from patients, while five had secured donations from publishers. In one case a fertility clinic was reduced to borrowing smut from a private clinic, while at another the inhouse porn stash was donated by consultant.
Of those trusts turning to WH Smiths, the average spend was £21.32 a year, with DVD spends coming in around the same level. There was no indication of how many donors the clinics dealt with, so it's not possible to calculate the return on investment.
However, it seems unlikely that a smut RoI would cut any mustard with 2020health.org chief executive Julia Manning.
Apart from the deleterious effects on female staff, Manning says that "For the NHS to unnecessarily introduce addictive material ... to patients during their treatment beggars belief. And to this at a time when men are feeling particularly vulnerable, already facing the emotional and physical pressures of possible infertility is inexcusable."
She also worries that donation by porn barons raises the prospect that it being manipulated by porn barons keen to capture a new market.
Lastly, she lists a number of ways having porn in clinics violates the NHS Constitution, including patients' "right to be treated with dignity and respect".
Sadly, Manning does not elaborate on how men required to produce sperm samples on order can do so with dignity and respect other than suggesting they could produce their samples at home and bring them into clinics,
There are of course other ways to produce samples, but this would require the NHS to spend more money on the necessary equipment for electroejaculation or testicular sperm aspiration. More details on both procedures here.
Manning has been described as a close adviser to the Tory top brass on health matters, and is a member of the College of Optomerists. ®