Female genital mutilation: London hospitals treat 4,000 patients

At least 66,000 girls and women in the UK are believed to be victims of FGM

Related Stories

Nearly 4,000 women and girls have been treated for female genital mutilation (FGM) in London's hospitals since 2009, according to new figures.

Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust treated the most FGM patients, with 1,146 seen over the past five years.

The data was obtained through Freedom of Information requests to NHS Trusts by BBC London 94.9.

London's mayor Boris Johnson said the practice was "absolutely intolerable".

Forty-one hospital trusts were contacted by the BBC with most supplying figures. Six said they did not currently record figures on FGM, while four did not respond.

Female genital mutilation

  • FGM includes procedures that alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons
  • About 140 million girls and women worldwide are living with the consequences of FGM
  • Dangers include severe bleeding, problems urinating, infections, infertility and increased risk of newborn deaths in childbirth

Source: World Health Organisation

The remaining 31 trusts reported that a total of 3,939 FGM patients had been treated in London hospitals.

St George's Healthcare NHS Trust treated the second largest number of patients, with a total of 795 seen between 2009 and 2013, eight of whom were born in the UK.

The trust also revealed six girls under the age of 18 had been treated.

Mr Johnson said he was committed to delivering a pilot initiative aimed at improving the way agencies in the capital identify and respond to FGM.

'Barbaric crime'

"This is a crime basically outlawed in the early-mid 1980s and yet, unlike France, we have not had one single successful prosecution for what is unquestionably a completely barbaric crime," he said.

"It's time to stop being so nervous, so gingerly and hesitant. This is something that is absolutely intolerable in a place like London."

FGM patients treated in London hospitals

  • Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust treated 1,146 patients
  • St George's Healthcare NHS Trust treated 795 patients
  • Ealing Hospital NHS Trust treated 633 patients
  • Whittington Health NHS Trust treated 493 patients
  • Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust treated 254 patients

FGM is most common among some African, Asian and Middle Eastern communities.

But campaigners say there is a lack of knowledge about how prevalent the practice is and this is hampering social services and the police in the collection of evidence.

Dr Phoebe Abe, a Hillingdon GP, runs a free weekly FGM clinic where she is currently treating 60 women, eight of whom are under 17.

"These women have adhesions, vaginal infections, pelvic inflammatory infections, urine infections - for years they have been having this problems," she said.

Last month the Department of Health announced that, from April, all NHS hospitals will be able to record if a patient has undergone FGM or if there is a family history of it.

By September, all acute hospitals will have to report this data to the department on a monthly basis.

At least 66,000 girls and women in the UK are believed to be victims of FGM.

The children's charity, NSPCC, set up a 24-hour FGM helpline last year.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC London

Weather

London

21 °C 14 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    News on the Hour 09:00: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    The bulletin this hour includes:

    • The number of pedestrians injured in hit and runs has risen for the fourth year in a row, figures from Scotland Yard show.
    • Organisations representing victims are expected to tell officials from the inquiry into historical child abuse they want the Lord Mayor of London to resign as its chair.
     
  2.  
    TOP HEADLINES
  3.  
    'Poppy hijab' 08:51:

    A fashion designer has created a 'poppy hijab' to commemorate the centenary of the first Muslim soldier being awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery.

    The new design

    Tabinda-Kauser Ishaq, a final year student at the University of Arts in London, also hopes the piece of clothing will give Muslim women a new way to mark Remembrance Day.

     
  4.  
    On air 08:40: BBC London 94.9 Radio

    From 09:00 Harriet Scott, standing in for Vanessa Feltz, will be discussing a report that shows there has been a large increase in incidents of fly-tipping.

    Has rubbish been dumped where you live? Have you had to call your local authorities to get something in your area cleaned up?

    Call 020 7224 2000 or text 81333, starting your message 'London'

     
  5.  
    Tube engineering works 08:30: Paul Murphy-Kasp Journalist, BBC London

    There are planned engineering works on London Overground and the Bakerloo Line meaning both lines will be partially close throughout the day.

    To find out more, visit BBC London's travel website.

     
  6.  
    'Super sewer' challenge 08:20:

    A council has applied for a judicial review into plans to use a site surrounded by schools and flats for a "super sewer" on the Thames riverside.

    Chambers Wharf site for Thames tunnel The Chambers Wharf site is adjacent to flats and schools

    Southwark Council said construction at the Chambers Wharf site in Bermondsey would have a "devastating impact".

     
  7.  
    Train delays 08:13:

    There are delays on Stansted Express and Greater Anglia routes between Bethnal Green and Liverpool Street stations because of over-running engineering works.

    For travel updates on Twitter, follow @BBCTravelAlert

     
  8.  
    Road crash 08:05: Paul Murphy-Kasp Journalist, BBC London

    There has been a crash between a car and a bus on Chelsea Embankment meaning the Albert and Battersea Bridges have been closed and there are delays on surrounding routes.

    To find out more, visit BBC London's travel website.

     
  9.  
    Frightfully warm Halloween 08:02:

    Early low cloud and fog patches will soon clear to leave a dry, bright and unseasonably warm Halloween with plenty of sunny spells and a southerly breeze. Maximum temperature: 21C (70F).

    Sunrise
     
  10.  
    08:00: Duncan Smith BBC News Online

    Good morning. I'll have the latest news, sport, travel and weather from across the capital today for BBC Local Live.

    Send your news, pictures and comments to london.locallive@bbc.co.uk or tweet @BBCLondonNews.

     

Features

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • MonkeyMeet the tarsier

    The BBC travels to a Philippine island that is home to the world's oldest primate

Programmes

  • Francis Rossi, co-founder of band Status QuoHARDtalk Watch

    Status Quo's Francis Rossi explains how alcohol led him to take cocaine

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.