Medical professionals will be asked to note on a child's health record if they are potentially at risk of female genital mutilation, amid fears that doctors will be wary of treating patients who have undergone the procedure following the highly-criticised trial of a doctor who was found not guilty on Wednesday of performing FGM.
The new national system, announced on Friday, the UN day of zero tolerance of FGM, will ensure that data, including details of a family's origin, will now be gathered from acute trusts, mental health trusts and GPs. As part of a push to improve the NHS response to FGM, data will be published quarterly and annually by the Health and Social Care Information Centre. New guidance is set to be issued, with the new system starting from September 2015.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has also updated its guidance to ensure that all nurses and midwives who suspect that a woman or child is at risk should report it as they would with any other suspected abuse. But Janet Davies, director of nursing at the RCN, called on the government to ensure that all health professionals are trained to recognise FGM.