13 Sep 2019
Manor Gardens is proud to be part of the NHS's new clinics to support women affected by female genital mutilation (FGM).
The NHS is opening support clinics across England that will allow survivors to access expert care and treatment earlier. More than 1,300 women are expected to benefit from the highly specialised FGM support being rolled out in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and five boroughs in London, according to NHS England.
Women who have had FGM often first come into contact with NHS services after they become pregnant. The eight new centres aim to reach a broader group of women, particularly those who are younger and not pregnant, to provide swift support and treatment. The clinics 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.
Rosalind Jerram, FGM programme manager for the Manor Gardens Welfare Trust's Dahlia Project, said: 'These clinics are incredibly important – they provide a holistic safe space for survivors of FGM, where women’s physical, psychological, and daily support needs can be met.'
The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said: 'I’ve been incredibly moved by the stories of girls and women who have been subjected to FGM and am determined to do everything I can to support the survivors of this horrific act. FGM continues to devastate lives and it is vital the NHS does what it can to help.
'It’s absolutely crucial we reach more women so they can access support services that take care of mental, emotional, physical and clinical needs. These clinics will have a profound impact – helping women who have been violated in the most traumatic of ways to move on from this violence and lead happier, healthier lives.'
Hilary Garratt, deputy chief nursing officer for England, said: 'We have listened closely to survivors and their advocates and designed these services with them, meaning these clinics, and the highly trained staff who will work in them, represent 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 [taking into account] the impact this has on their families, communities and, of equal importance, the next generation.'
As well as our Dahlia Project, the clinics will also work with local community groups, including Women’s Health and Family Services, Forward, and the Ayda centre, to change the culture and thinking around FGM.