First specialist FGM clinic opens in Wales
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (CVUHB) has launched Wales’s first specialist FGM pilot clinic.
The specialist service known as the ‘Women’s Wellbeing Clinic’ will be open to all females affected by or at potential risk of FGM.
The midwifery-led FGM service will be led by specialist FGM midwife Emily Brace, who will be working in close collaboration with the consultant obstetric team, designated child health consultant paediatricians and third sector agency support.
The clinic will be staffed exclusively by females and held weekly, every Wednesday, at Cardiff Health Access Practice, Cardiff Royal Infirmary.
Anyone affected by FGM or seeking advice around FGM can self-refer into the clinic or can be referred via a health clinician, third sector agency, the police or social services with the individual’s prior consent.
Any child cases will be seen in a separate clinic, which will run adjacent to the specialist FGM service by CVUHB’s designated child health consultant paediatricians.
The vision for the service is to ensure that all females impacted by the physical and psychological trauma of FGM are empowered to access culturally sensitive and individualised care management, support and advice.
The clinic will work within national guidelines and clinical standards for specialist FGM services, facilitating both the physical and psychosocial elements of care.
This includes access to psychosexual counselling, interpretation services, as well as community advocacy support.
Women’s wider health needs will also be addressed, including an opportunity to access cervical screening, breast screening and contraceptive advice. It is hoped that the clinic will be a trailblazer for best practice across Wales.
The clinic received funding from the Iolanthe Midwifery Trust, a registered charity that aims to promote and improve the care of mothers, babies and families through awarding grants and fellowships in support of midwifery education, practice and research.
CVUHB executive director Ruth Walker said: ‘It is important to us that every woman who needs medical help or advice has the opportunity to be heard and receive the treatment and support they need. The health board is very pleased to be leading the way for Wales in offering the Women’s Wellbeing Clinic in Cardiff.
RCM director for Wales Helen Rogers said: ‘This is a major step in the campaign to stop FGM in Wales and indeed across the UK, a campaign that the RCM has been at the forefront of.
‘It is so important that the women and girls who have been subjected to FGM, or fear they are at risk of FGM, have somewhere to go to where they can get the care, treatment and support they need. I am delighted that Cardiff is taking this step and I hope to see more clinics like this in other areas of Wales opening in the future.’
Photo from left to right: Emily Brace, Helen Rogers and Ruth Walker.