NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care have announced the launch of new community-based clinics to support non-pregnant women who have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), with Leeds being chosen to host the clinic for the North of England.
The funding has come from NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group and the service will be delivered by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, working alongside Touchstone who will provide mental health support and advocacy to women attending the clinic.
The project will support non-pregnant women who are aged 18 and over and who are survivors of FGM. The clinics will deliver services to both recent and non-recent victims, and can assist in police investigations of the FGM offence against them, only if they wish to do so.
The partnership with Touchstone will allow them to encourage women from a range of ethnic backgrounds to access the service, as they already have some of those key relationships which will help promote the service.
The clinic, known as the Blossom Clinic, will take place on a Tuesday every two weeks.
For a referral form, please call the Touchstone office on 0113 271 8277 or to speak to our advocate call 07824580988.
Sue Gibson, Director of Midwifery for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, added:
“We are delighted to be working with Touchstone to develop this important service in Leeds. Women affected by FGM are often afraid or embarrassed to speak about their experiences and so it can be a challenge to reach those who will benefit most from our help. With the support of Touchstone we will be able to ensure that women will be fully supported to access the emotional and physical care they need.”
Alison Lowe, CEO at Touchstone said:
“Touchstone is delighted to be part of this national NHS pilot programme. We feel the specialist needs of women (and some Trans men) who have been subjected to FGM has not been met by previous services and this new pilot gives us the opportunity to put that right. Touchstone’s passion is the people it serves and we are excited to amplify the voices of this much marginalised group of people for the first time.”