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GPs will have to report instances of FGM as a legal requirement

GPs face a referral to the GMC is they fail to report instances of female genital mutilation (FGM), as new Government legislation declares it child abuse.

Under the legal change, which will be made before the end of the current Parliament, GPs will have to report to the police all cases of ‘known’ FGM - i.e. instances which are disclosed by the victim and/or are visually confirmed - in all patients under the age of 18 within one month of initial disclosure/identification.

If they fail to do so, they could face being referred to the GMC.

The Government’s minister for crime prevention, Lynne Featherstone, said: ‘FGM is a criminal offence and it is child abuse. It can cause extreme and lifelong physical and emotional suffering and we all have a responsibility to do all we can to put a stop to it.

‘We believe that introducing a mandatory duty will provide clarity for professionals and will give them the confidence to confront FGM. It will aid police investigations and increase the number of perpetrators caught and prosecuted. It will also send a clear message to perpetrators that they will be held responsible for their actions and help prevent this appalling crime from happening.’

It comes as MPs have also urged the Government to look into whether GPs could assess patients deemed at an especially high risk of FGM.

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Readers' comments (6)

  • No. this will discourage people form seeking help for STDs, pre natal care and post natal care. Think about it.

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  • and are we expected to force examination on to patients to confirm FGM?

    I imagine at some point there will be a QOF target for '% of population have FGM'.

    as 2.24 said this will only seek to discourage people from seeking help.

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  • It may be worth maintaining a marker for "known not to have been mutilated" and one could subclass that to include female and genital if other sorts of mutilation are regarded as OK.

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  • I wonder how many doctors would recognise fgm if they never have seen it before

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  • as usual this relates only to female genital mutilation with no discussion of male genital mutilation.
    strange that this form of sexism is acceptable when so many others are not.

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  • to JL 16th Feb 11:43
    FGM to quote the Pulse article ". It can cause extreme and lifelong physical and emotional suffering and we all have a responsibility to do all we can to put a stop to it. "
    If you believe male circumcision is often or usually as damaging as FGM then I suspect you are wrong but none the less you are probably right to speak out. Male circumcision can be badly done with disastrous consequences and is ,of course, performed without informed consent .

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