Agenda and minutes

Health Overview & Scrutiny Sub-Committee
Wednesday, 20th April, 2016 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Anthony Clements 01708 433065  Email:

No. Item



Details of the arrangements in case of fire or other events that might require the meeting room or building’s evacuation will be announced.


The Chairman gave details of arrangements in case of fire or other event that may require the evacuation of the meeting room.



(if any) – receive.


Apologies were received from Councillor Jason Frost.



Members are invited to disclose any interests in any of the items on the agenda at this point of the meeting. Members may still declare an interest in an item at any time prior to the consideration of the matter.


There were no disclosures of pecuniary interests.



The Sub-Committee will be addressed by a consultant obstetrician at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals’ NHS Trust on the Trust’s pathway for dealing with cases of FGM.


A consultant obstetrician from Barking Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals’ NHS Trust (BHRUT) explained that female genital mutilation (FGM) was most common in the Horn of Africa countries where there was in excess of 90% prevalence. It was emphasised that FGM was not endorsed by any faith and was considered as more of a cultural practice.


The consultant added that most cases were relatively minimal, involving the removal of the clitoris but other forms were more invasive. The most extreme cases of FGM often led to problems such as urine infections, menstrual difficulties, problems in childbirth and psychiatric problems. Most FGM cases the consultant had seen were less severe but still caused a lot of physical and psychological distress.


The practice had been illegal in the UK since 2003 and it was also illegal for e.g. family members to take a child abroad for FGM. FGM usually took place between the ages of 5 and 10 and the consultant was not aware of any cases being performed in Havering although she did some cases that had been performed abroad. Around three deinfibulation  procedures to partially reverse FGM were performed at BHRUT each year. This was a much lower figure than in hospitals in central London.


All pregnant women were asked, on their first visit to BHRUT about whether had ever had genital surgery and were asked this again, even if they had answered no, at a later stage of their pregnancy. If signs of female genital mutilation were identified, patients would be referred by community midwives to the consultant’s team for specialist treatment. FGM had only been seen in Havering in first generation immigrants with the consultant never having seen any cases in second generation immigrants.


Community midwives were also able to advise women that taking a child abroad for FGM was illegal in the UK. With effect from October 2015, any child born to a woman had had undergone FGM also received a safeguarding alert.


Any cases of girls under 18 seen at the hospital with FGM had to be reported to the Police. In addition, a referral would be made to the multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) and the safeguarding midwife would be informed. BHRUT had also introduced a ‘time to talk’ programme where a midwife spoke individually with a pregnant woman about any confidential concerns or issues.


Most cases of FGM were identified in maternity units but only 10% of these required surgical intervention. Referrals could also come from areas such as paediatrics and sexual health services. It would be the responsibility of social care staff rather than the hospital to contact a young person’s school if FGM was suspected.


The Assistant Director, Children’s Services explained that Kensington & Chelsea had received funding to work with Horn of Africa communities on this issue. This had led to the establishment of a specific clinic and support to encourage women in the community to take ownership of the issue. A helpline for cases of FGM had also been established at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 59.



To consider any other items of which the Chairman is of the opinion, by means of special circumstances which shall be specified in the minutes, that the item shall be considered as a matter of urgency.



There was no urgent business raised.