London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust is one of three London boroughs to host a new community based service for non-pregnant women with Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).
The Hibiscus Clinic will be based in Wembley Centre for Health in Brent.
The team, which includes a specialist midwife, FGM advocate and counsellor, will provide a holistic approach treating both the physical and psychological trauma associated with FGM.
Grace Nartey, named midwife for safeguarding and a FGM advocate with the trust, said: “There is a real need for a community based service for non-pregnant women over the age of 18 years old.
“We want to provide a ‘one stop’ service where woman can get advice, support and treatment outside a hospital setting.”
The trust recorded more than 986 incidents of female genital mutilation in 2018-19 - the highest in the country - and will be one of eight female genital mutilation support clinics centres across the UK
The clinics will also work with local community groups to change the culture and thinking around FGM.
The physical dangers associated with FGM include safety risks around being able to deliver a baby vaginally, urinary and reproductive tract problems, scarring and possible menstrual problems.
Grace added: “There’s a misconception that FGM predominantly affects the African community whereas it is practiced in countries as diverse as Iraq, Sri Lanka and Pakistan."
The trust was approached to set up the service by NHS England last year because of its high recording of FGM attendances. The FGM Community Clinic will enable women to self-refer into the service or via their GP or another hospital department.