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Suffolk: Training given to hospital staff to spot signs of FGM

PUBLISHED: 10:01 28 June 2014

Training for hospital staff

Training for hospital staff

Archant © 2006

Midwives, neonatal nurses and gynaecologists are among members of Suffolk’s frontline medical staff that have received specialist training to recognise the signs of female genital mutilation (FGM).

The move comes ahead of new regulations in September 2014 that will see data relating to injuries or suspected cases of FGM - the illegal procedure that alters or causes injury to the female genital organs for non medical reasons - reported separately.

It is believed that more than 20,000 girls under the age of 15 could be at high risk of FGM in England and Wales each year, with nearly 66,000 women having experienced the illegal procedure.

At West Suffolk Hospital, 31 staff members, including 15 midwives, three neonatal nurses and a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology took part in a multi-professional session with Suffolk Constabulary and representatives from a support agency.

A spokesman for West Suffolk Hospital said: “We take our safeguarding responsibilities extremely seriously, and are committed to ensuring the wellbeing of everyone who uses our services.

“We proactively arranged training for our staff earlier this year following requests from our midwives, who wanted to improve their knowledge of this area for the benefit of our patients. We are also in the process of revising our e-learning programme for all staff to raise awareness of these issues more widely.”

According to information from Ipswich Hospital, although midwives, nurses and doctors do not routinely receive training specifically in the FGM legislation, some training days, which include FGM, have been held in the last two to three years.

Increasing awareness of FGM amongst medical practitioners and social workers has been a key element of a Government campaign to eradicate the practice. This month home secretary Theresa May launched a poster campaign to urge women, particularly those in Somali, Kenyan and Nigerian communities which have a higher prevalence of FGM, to call an NSPCC-dedicated helpline if they are suspicious. The posters will be placed in public toilets, and also sent to schools, GPs’ surgeries and hospitals.

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