MORE than 400 new cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) are reported each month in England, with over half occurring in London.
New figures revealed there were 1,242 newly recorded cases of FGM reported between January and March 2016, and a total of 2,223 attendances where FGM was identified or a related procedure carried out.
The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) report showed 81 NHS trusts and 12 GP practices had one or more attendance for FGM during that period. Almost all information was submitted by trusts, however, with GP practices accounting for just one per cent of total attendances.
Most FGM was self-reported (75 per cent) with London accounting for 52 per cent of new cases.
The vast majority of women and girls with a known country of birth were from an eastern, northern or western African country, with Somalia accounting for a third of new cases. Other countries with a large volume of cases included Eritrea, Sudan and Nigeria.
Eleven new FGM cases involved women and girls who were born in the UK, and at least seven procedures were carried out illegally in the UK. Twenty-nine affected girls were under 18, comprising two per cent of all new cases.
Commenting on the figures, Janet Fyle, Professional Policy Advisor at the Royal College of Midwives, said: "These figures show that we need renewed and focused efforts to tackle FGM.
"This has to be backed by 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."
The NHS has been required to collect data on FGM since April 2014, recording information on women and girls who attend hospitals, GP surgeries and mental health centres. Doctors in England and Wales also have a mandatory duty to report to the police FGM cases in girls under the age of 18.
Read the full report on the HSCIC website