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National plan needed to tackle FGM says leading midwife

New statistics show that there were 1242 newly recorded cases of FGM in England between January and March of this year

New statistics show there were 1242 newly recorded cases of FGM in England between January and March of this year.

Royal College of Midwifery professional policy advisor Janet Fyle said these HSCIC figures show there must be a national action plan so that 'all sectors and all professionals see FGM as their business, and protecting girls from such abuses becomes a normal part of their practice'.

'This is why all healthcare professionals need to be vigilant in identifying women and girls at risk. They can then provide them with support and appropriate care and referral, and collaborate in the collection of data,' she said.

Nearly 30% of the newly recorded cases across England were girls under the age of 18 years and 11 of those were girls born in the UK. Self-report was the most frequent method of FGM identification, accounting for 75% of cases where the identification method was known.

Ms Fyle added that all health professionals must report all cases of known FGM in girls under 18 to the police: 'It is important that regulated professionals comply with their mandatory duty and legal obligation to repot FGM cases,' she said.

The data revealed that more than half of all cases relate to women and girls from London NHS Commissioning Region - 52% of newly recorded cases and 60% of total attendees.

Ms Fyle said that these statistics highlight where resources are needed, citing London as a one area where there needs to be a greater effort to tackle this issue.

The HSCIC statistics showed that 81 NHS Trusts and 12 GP practices submitted one or more FGM attendance record. GP practices submitted just 2% of newly recorded women and girls and 1% of total attendances.