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Innovative service to help women with FGM wins two awards

11 July 2012

A pioneering service to help women with female genital mutilation (FGM) has won two prestigious awards from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Maternity (APPGM). The APPGM is a cross-party group which aims to highlight maternity issues in Parliament. It is serviced by the National Childbirth Trust which is the UK’s largest charity for parents.
Innovative service to help women with FGM wins two awards

Staff from the W.London African Women’s Service at C&W Hospital collect their awards from Health Sec Andrew Lansley and National Childbirth Trust Chief Exec Belinda Phipps (2nd left) – photo reproduced by kind permission of the National Childbirth Trust

A pioneering service to help women with female genital mutilation (FGM) has won two prestigious awards from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Maternity (APPGM).

The APPGM is a cross-party group which aims to highlight maternity issues in Parliament. It is serviced by the National Childbirth Trust which is the UK’s largest charity for parents.

Staff from the West London African Women’s Service run by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust collected their awards from Health Secretary Andrew Lansley at the Houses of Parliament on Monday (9 July).

The West London African Women’s Service is a unique, multi-disciplinary service spanning both hospital and community services to meet the complex health needs of women with FGM which can cause pain, infections, psychological trauma and complications in pregnancy and childbirth.

Staff won two categories of the APPGM Awards – for ‘most marked improvement in services to address health inequalities or improve outcomes for mothers and babies’ and for ‘best example of a service for women with complex medical needs in pregnancy’.

Dr Naomi Low-Beer, Consultant Gynaecologist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, said: “We are delighted to receive these awards which highlight the serious health problems experienced by thousands of women in the UK as a result of female genital mutilation.

“Our innovative service has worked hard to reach women who are often reluctant to seek medical advice through conventional healthcare pathways so that we can meet the complex needs of women with FGM before, during and after pregnancy.

“We hope that our success will inspire other similar services to improve the care that the NHS provides for this vulnerable and often marginalised group of women.”

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “I know as well as any other parent how life-changing having a child can be, so getting maternity services right is vital.”