Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has launched the first specialist female genital mutilation clinic in Wales.
The midwifery-led service known as the Women’s Wellbeing Clinic will be open to all females affected by FGM or who are at potential risk of FGM occurring.
“The health board is very pleased to be leading the way for Wales”
Until now, females left with both the physical and psychological scars of FGM have not had access to specialist services in Wales, noted the health board.
The new specialist service will be led by specialist FGM midwife Emily Brace, working in close collaboration with the medical consultants and third sector agency support.
The clinic will be staffed exclusively by females and held weekly, every Wednesday, at Cardiff Health Access Practice at Cardiff Royal Infirmary.
Anyone affected by FGM or seeking advice around FGM can self-refer into the clinic or be referred with the individual’s prior consent, said the health board.
Any child cases will be seen in a separate clinic, which will run adjacent to the specialist FGM service.
The board said the vision for the service was to ensure that all females affected by FGM were “empowered to access culturally sensitive and individualised care management, support and advice”.
“This is a major step in the campaign to stop FGM in Wales and indeed across the UK”
The board highlighted that the clinic would work within national guidelines and clinical standards for specialist FGM services, facilitating both the physical and psycho-social elements of care.
This includes access to psycho-sexual counselling, interpretation services and community advocacy support. There will also be an opportunity to access cervical and breast screening, and contraception.
It is hoped that the clinic will be a “trailblazer for best practice across Wales”, said Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
Ruth Walker, executive director at Cardiff and Vale, said: “The health board is very pleased to be leading the way for Wales in offering the Women’s Wellbeing Clinic in Cardiff.”
The clinic received charity funding from the Iolanthe Midwifery Trust, which aims to improve the care of mothers, babies and families through midwifery education, practice and research.
The Jean Davies Award is intended to fund individuals or teams working specifically to reduce or to investigate inequalities in maternal health.
It is made in honour of Jean Davies who served as a trustee of the Iolanthe Midwifery Trust until 2012 and in various roles for the Royal College of Midwives during her career.
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 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,” she said.
“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,” she added.
The Women’s Wellbeing Clinic will offer:
- Culturally sensitive care management
- Access to deinfibulation services (re-opening procedure)
- Psycho-sexual counselling support
- Referral to other services where clinically indicated
- Cervical screening
- Contraceptive and breast screening advice
- Blood bourne virus screening
- Collection of clinical information to support improvements to FGM services
- Access to community advocacy support
- Translation services