• STV
  • MySTV

Scale of FGM treatment for city health boards revealed

Medics in Scotland have treated victims of FGM on over 230 occasions in the last two years.

NHS: Treated victims of female genital mutilation.
NHS: Treated victims of female genital mutilation.

Medics in Scotland's biggest cities have treated victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) on more than 230 occasions over the last two years, according to newly-uncovered figures.

The statistics were revealed by Scottish Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, who said the "barbaric" practice must be wiped out entirely.

Responses to a freedom of information request from the party show that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) recorded treating women identified with FGM on at least 138 occasions in 2017 and 2018.

In NHS Lothian, which covers Edinburgh, 93 occasions were noted over that two year period.

Questions submitted to Scotland's 12 other territorial health boards showed that they had recorded very low or no cases of FGM in their area.

In its response, NHSGGC stressed that it could not confirm the "true prevalence" of FGM in the health board area because some patients may have been admitted to hospital for an unrelated issue.

It is also possible that there are "significant numbers" of patients with FGM who have not been admitted to hospital, the board said.

The figures were revealed after the UN's International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM was marked on Wednesday.

And at the start of February, the mother of a three-year-old girl became the first to be found guilty of FGM in the UK.

The Ugandan woman, 37, from east London, was found guilty of cutting her daughter after a trial at the Old Bailey.

'It is a form of abuse and gender based violence that has serious short and long term physical and psychological consequences.'
Dr Duncan McCormick, NHS Lothian

East Dunbartonshire MP Ms Swinson, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: "These figures show that NHS professionals across Scotland are recording treating women who have experienced FGM.

"It is a barbaric and traumatic practice that must be completely eradicated. Nobody should be in any doubt that it is child abuse and it is against the law.

"The Scottish and UK governments, police and other services must work closely to protect women and girls from FGM. They must also ensure that there are sufficient resources for training and support services to help women and girls who are victims of FGM to deal with the physical and psychological consequences.

"We waited a long time to see the first conviction in the UK for female genital mutilation. It should pave the way for further concerted action."

Dr Duncan McCormick, consultant in public health medicine at NHS Lothian, said: "We are very clear in our commitment to and responsibility for identifying and treating children and women at high risk of FGM in Lothian.

"It is a form of abuse and gender based violence that has serious short and long term physical and psychological consequences, and if any health professional has concerns they have a responsibility to share that information to safeguard the wellbeing of women and children.

"FGM is a hugely complex and sensitive issue that requires health professionals to approach the subject carefully. We need to ask the right questions in a straightforward and sensitive way to establish the understanding and relationship needed to ensure that the girl or woman, and her family members, are given the care, protection and safeguarding they need."

An NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde spokesman said: "We have no confirmation that FGM is being practised in Scotland, however there is intelligence that cutting does happen elsewhere in the UK.

"There is a clinic at the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital, run by the SNIPS team (Special Needs in Pregnancy Service), which sees all women who have disclosed FGM.

"For the most part, they do not need any treatment and will more than likely go on to have a normal birth.

"A small number of women are referred to the gynaecological services. Of those who are referred, some request no treatment in the antenatal period, and would rather wait for the intrapartum period, which is the recommendation from The World Health Organisation."

Minister for Older People and Equalities Christina McElvie MSP said: "FGM is an abhorrent practice, a form of abuse and a violation of the human rights of women and girls.

"Scotland already has robust laws in place to tackle this illegal practice and we are taking action to prevent and eradicate FGM and ensure that public and third sector services stand ready to support those at risk.

"We want to strengthen protections further, introduce protection orders for women and girls at risk and place guidance for professionals on a statutory footing."

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.