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What would prevent a nurse from talking to patients about FGM?

  • Comments (6)

The government has announced that NHS hospitals will have to submit data on the number of girls and women who have suffered female genital mutilation (FGM).

Among a range of measures aimed at targeting the illegal practice, it will be mandatory for hospitals to tell the Department of Health on a monthly basis of any cases they see of FGM.

The data will be held centrally and shared with other government departments and the police to build up a picture of the extent of FGM across the UK.

The announcement comes after a senior Scotland Yard officer said young girls who have suffered FGM were being failed by doctors who do not report cases to the police.


  • What do you think of this announcement?
  • What would prevent a nurse from talking to patients about FGM?
  • Are you confident to talk to patients about female genital mutation?


Read the full story: NHS hospitals told to submit FGM data




  • Comments (6)

Readers' comments (6)

  • Fran Entwistle

    I wonder if there is still a lack of awareness generally about FGM? It's certainly been more high-profile recently but how often is it discussed?

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  • Anonymous

    Those most likely to encounter this issue are Midwives and those who work in gynecology /paediatrics.

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  • Anonymous

    So what does this senior Scotland Yard officer expect us all to do? Ask every girl or woman we come into contact with to see her vagina? The vast majority of women who visit a doctor or a nurse do not have to get their bits out for examination!

    Also - women who have suffered this most often do not attend for smears. They do not attend if they get thrush or other problems that are usually dealt with by other women in their community. Often the first people to realise they have a problem is midwives, who are often presented with a woman in labour who has been infibulated! And they report it.

    It seems to me that this is yet another example of blaming the health service and its workers for vile practices carried out by these foreign butchers who have a low regard for women.

    It also smacks of the police using excuses for not investigating or bringing any prosecutions against perpetrators who HAVE been reported.

    As health professionals, we cannot mend all the ills of society alone. I am not going to ask a female from a community that is known to practice who comes to see me with a chest infection if I can look at her genitals to see if she has been the victim of FGM. And if I ask them they could deny it.

    Of the cases that have been reported to the police, very few reach court. And the punishment is derisory. Is that the fault of the health professional, or is it the fault of the police/courts/justice system in general?

    Yes, its vile; the perpetrators have little regard for females, they find the seat of pleasure and they cut it out. Occasionally UK based doctors from these communities have back street clinics. Many of the butchers are women, often victims themselves, ingnorant of the future cost their victims will pay in our society.

    I have no problem discussing it. Neither does any other nurse I know. Neither do I know any nurse/midwife that would not try to report it to their line management.

    I suppose we are now going to be faced with yet another mountain of paperwork and procedures we have to memorise to help this failing multi cultural society stumble along to the next crisis. All to help "government departments and police build up a picture....." but doesn't say what THEY are actually going to do about it.

    Its about time the police got their act together and started to prosecute, not dance around excuses of blaming health care providers. Its the police who need to be educated on how to approach the subject, not us.

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  • Anonymous

    Can someone please explain to me how circumcision of female genitals is termed mutilation whereas male circumcision is not? By definition, are we asserting that males consent to this procedure and females don't? Is it not sexist that it is acceptable to mutilate a male child but not a female? I would genuinely love to know.

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  • Camille Bache

    That was interesting. I would say, it will depend upon the situation. If the patient really want to have some information about Female Genital Mutilation, then, the nurse can have health teaching about this matter. Talking to a female shouldn't be hard. Since they make up about half the population, you should be conversant. Treat women like human beings, with respect and dignity. You can read more at

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  • Anonymous

    Are there any studies on the number of clincians who currently speak about FGM, what % of nurses are asking pts about FGM? If not how can we measure we are getting better at it if we have no benchmark?

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