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A new network of NHS ‘one stop shop’ clinics means that hundreds of survivors of female genital mutilation (FGM) will be able to access expert care, support and treatment earlier.
More than 1,300 women over 18 are expected to benefit from the highly specialised FGM support being rolled out to eight new centres across England, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.
The new network of FGM support clinics – opening in Birmingham, Bristol, London and Leeds – will aim to reach women before they are pregnant, providing those over the age of 18 with a range of services all under one roof. They will be led by specialist doctors, midwives and nurses, and provide access to specially-trained counsellors for emotional support, as well as FGM Health Advocates for advice on accessing other services locally.
With highly trained clinicians and staff, including FGM Health Advocates, available to provide support, women accessing the walk-in clinics will be able to talk openly about their experience of FGM and discuss possible treatment options. The clinics will also work with local community groups to prevent future cases by seeking to change the culture and thinking around FGM.
Hilary Garratt, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for England, who opened the centre in London, said: “These new NHS clinics will benefit hundreds of women who have suffered this most severe form of abuse and violence. These are clinics for women, run by women. We’ve listened closely to survivors and their advocates and designed these brand new services with them, meaning that these clinics, and the highly-trained staff who will work in it, represents a real step-change in the quality and timeliness of support the NHS provides.
“Survivors of FGM deserve to be heard and supported – and that is exactly what the NHS is working with them and others to achieve. Not only are we supporting individual women, but the impact this has on their families, communities and of equal importance, the next generation.”