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Advice issued on commissioning services for women affected by FGM

Guidance on how to commission services for girls and women with female genital mutilation have been published by the Department of Health.

Commissioning services to support women and girls with female genital mutilation,has been developed by healthcare professionals currently providing services.

It aims to highlight what commissioners might want to consider when developing a new service.

Commissioning for this patient group has been hampered by a lack of reliable data on the number of women affected and dedicated services to help with their needs.

The document states that while a few FGM clinics have been set up there is limited awareness of how to approach the commissioning of services.

It highlights two areas of focus; provision of sensitive and appropriate services for survivors of FGM, and safeguarding girls at risk of FGM.

The nature of FGM services will vary depending on local prevalence. In low prevalence areas there must be clear referral pathways to FGM services.

FGM is prevalent in 28 African countries as well as in parts of the Middle East and Asia.

It is estimated that about 103,000 women aged 15-49 and about 24,000 women aged 50 and over who have migrated to England and Wales are living with the consequences of FGM.

In addition, approximately 10,000 girls aged under 15 who have migrated to England and Wales are likely to have undergone FGM.

From September 2014 to January 2015, more than 2,600 patients were treated in the NHS who were newly identified as having undergone FGM.

FGM is illegal in the UK and leads to severe short and long term physical and psychological consequences.