Friendly new community clinic for women in London affected by female genital mutilation

Three women showing each other support with back hug
Friday, 20 September, 2019

There is now a new community-based clinic for women over 18 years old in London opening its doors at a medical centre in Chingford for those who have been affected by female genital mutilation (FGM). FGM is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed, where there is no medical reason for this to be done. It is also known as “female circumcision” or “cutting” and many other terms. It is very painful and can seriously harm the health of women and girls.

The new clinic is now one of six new community-based clinics being launched nationally offering a range of support services to women including assessments and treatment, counselling, advocacy and safeguarding, as well as onward referral to a specialist consultant where required.

The community clinic in Chingford is for all adult women affected by FGM, and can be used by women from across London. They just need to ring up, email or walk in to make an appointment.

Dr Reeba Oliver, a Barts Health NHS Trust Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist who provides care at the clinic said, “FGM has serious health consequences that go into adulthood. There are long-term emotional, psychological and physical effects from the damage caused by FGM. I strongly encourage women to come and use our services. They will be treated with support, dignity and understanding.” 

Dr Sabeena Pheerunggee, Clinical Lead for Safeguarding at NHS Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) who is involved in the pilot and a local GP, said: “The opening of this clinic will allow us to provide support and care to FGM survivors in an environment designed to meet their needs.

“For many of these women, coming forward to explain what happened to them can be an extremely difficult and trying experience. The clinic is called Waha, which is Arabic for Oasis, and I hope women will feel a sense of relief when they come here.”

Women can refer themselves by phoning 020 8430 7020 or emailing bartshealth.fgmwhipps@nhs.net. Alternatively, their GP can refer them as can their hospital consultant if they are seeing one.

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