Background/introduction Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is illegal in the UK. When identified, it is mandatory to record FGM in a patient’s health care record and to report under 18s to the police.
Aim(s)/objectives To investigate characteristics and management of patients with FGM attending an inner city sexual health service.
Methods Retrospective case note review of patients recorded as having had FGM between February 2014 and November 2015.
Results 65 patients were identified; 52 attended the walk-in GUM clinic and 13 attended the HIV clinic. Median age was 33 years (range 17–54 years). Common countries of origin were Sierra Leone, Somalia and Nigeria in 38%, 20% and 12%, respectively. Most FGM took place in childhood (aged 0–4 years in 17%, aged 5–10 years in 37%, aged 10–15 years in 11%). FGM was self-reported in 13 (20%) and identified during examination in 52 (80%) patients. Type 1 and 2 FGM were the most common forms in 21 (32%) and 29 (45%), respectively. Of 52 cases presenting to GUM, 28 (54%) were first attendances. Of the remaining, 15/24 (63%) cases of FGM had not been identified on previous visits despite a previous documented examination in 11/15 (73%). One patient was under 18 at presentation and 18 (28%) had daughters or sisters aged < 18 years. Immediate safeguarding concerns were raised in 4 cases.
Discussion/conclusion FGM is common yet frequently missed by health care professionals even during examination. Training in the recognition and management of FGM is essential for staff working in Sexual Health.
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