LONDON – British hospitals will be required for the first time to record patients who have been subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM), the government announced Thursday.
The Department of Health estimates that 66,000 women in England and Wales are living with the consequences of FGM, and a further 23,000 girls under the age of 15 are at risk every year.
But the most recent figures are from 2007, indicating a lack of clear information on the problem that the new centralized reporting system is intended to address.
From April, state-run National Health Service hospitals will be required to report to the Health Ministry if a patient has had FGM, if there is a family history of mutilation or if an FGM-related procedure has been carried out.
“Female genital mutilation is an abhorrent practice that has no place in this — or any other — society,” public health minister Jane Ellison said.
The procedure, which ranges from removal of the clitoris to more widespread mutilation, can lead to infection and long-term pain. It is practiced across the world.