‘One stop shop’ holistic FGM clinic launches in Brent

Grace Narty, FGM lead at the London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, speaking at the laun

Grace Narty, FGM lead at the London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, speaking at the launch of the pilot FGM initiative - Credit: London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust

The NHS is ramping up its support for survivors of female genital mutilation (FGM) with a new “one stop shop” centre for both mental and physical trauma in Wembley.

The Hibiscus Clinic will be based at the Wembley Centre for Health in Chaplin Road, and is one of eight new centres across England - three in London - that will help hundreds of affected women get expert care, support and treatment.

The team includes a specialist midwife, advocate and counsellor.

Typically health workers first identify and start to offer support to FGM survivors through maternity services when they become pregnant. But the aim with the new network of clinics is to reach women before that happens.

Grace Narty, FGM lead for the London North West University Trust, told the Times: "I'm absolutely over the moon and thrilled we've got this service. Back in the '90s when we first realised FGM was actually a problem there were no services for women who were affected, so I'm so grateful we have the opportunity to have these pilot sites."

She added: "What's really unique is a counsellor will also be on site. For some women, the trauma from the event of actually being cut at birth or a young age will affect them now.

"They might have sexual concerns or the psychological trauma of not being able to be intimate with their partners.

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"They might also fear giving birth and the change that comes with pregnancy, which can be related to the loss of control, similar to when they went through the FGM cutting itself.

"Others might be suffering from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or struggling with their body image."

The trust recorded nearly 1,000 incidents of female genital mutilation in 2018-19 - the highest in the country.

The clinic launched at the Wembley Centre on Tuesday, and is running as a pilot for two years. It opens a fortnight from 9am to 5pm. Anyone over 18 can drop in.