Milton Keynes implements information sharing tool to help root out FGM

With the new solution, the NHS trust aims to better protect girls and women at risk of FGM.
By Leontina Postelnicu
06:05 AM

Milton Keynes University Hospital (MKUH), a single-site NHS trust in England providing a range of acute services to more than 400,000 people, has introduced a tool for information sharing to help protect girls and women that are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM).

The solution, which is owned and hosted by NHS Digital, allows authorised healthcare professionals and administrative staff to view data about girls and women that have a history of FGM in their families, supporting early intervention and safeguarding of patients.

It is now integrated within the trust’s electronic health record system, provided by Cerner, with potential to feed into wider initiatives at regional level, according to the EHR giant.

WHY IT MATTERS

FGM refers to procedures that alter or injure female genital organs without any medical reasons, harming girls and women. It provides no health benefits, and it can lead to infections and complications in childbirth.

It is nearly always carried out on girls between early childhood and the age of 15, and is recognised as a violation of human rights. According to the United Nations, globally, at least 200 million girls and women that are alive today have undergone some form of FGM, mainly in 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East. The illegal procedure is also practiced in some Asian and Latin American countries and persists among immigrant populations in North America, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

In England, data from NHS Digital shows that nearly 2,000 girls and women receiving emergency care in the first three months of this year were identified with FGM or had to undergo a procedure related to it.

Earlier this year, a 37-year-old woman was sentenced to 11 years in prison for the genital cutting of her three-year-old daughter, becoming the first person to be convicted of FGM in the UK. Doctors alerted the police of the child’s injuries after treating her at a hospital in east London.

ON THE RECORD

“This is a hugely important step for our hospital and our patients, allowing our staff to better positioned to protect our female patients at risk of this illegal practice,” said Craig York, chief technology officer at the Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Distie Profit, general manager for Cerner UK, added: “I truly hope to see this solution soon being adopted by all Trusts in England as a standard practice to look after their female patients, particularly those that are more vulnerable to suffering abusive procedures like this.”