Background “ Tackling FGM in the UK”, Intercollegiate document calls for paediatricians to routinely ask about FGM in their clinical history to identify girls and young women who are at risk and require safeguarding.
Aims To gather paediatricians’ views at a large district general hospital on awareness, training and current practice regarding female genital mutilation.
Methods A pilot survey using Monkey Survey was compiled and sent out to paediatric registrars (ST3–ST8) which was followed by a survey to all paediatricians in the department. Questions included multiple choice and open ended format.
Results Out of 105 invitations 32 responses (30%) were received from 9 consultants, 19 paediatric trainees, 4 unknown. Most of those answering reported “some” knowledge about FGM (88%) although only 6% said they had “adequate” knowledge. The source of information was through professional teaching in 66% and by the media in 34%. Only half of the sample (58%) thought FGM to be a cultural issue but most (97%) thought FGM to be a safeguarding issue. Of the 32 responses 53% had looked after a patient either who had been subjected to FGM themselves or with a mother/sister known to be affected. Open questions garnered comments on how doctors became aware of FGM in patient or female relatives; the confidence required to ask about FGM in history taking and management of suspected cases.
Conclusions The findings of this survey represent the views of a small number of paediatricians in a general hospital. The poor response rate could suggest lack of awareness of FGM or that surveys are not a way of gathering the views of busy paediatricians. Paediatricians taking part felt almost unanimously that FGM is a safeguarding issue although there was less certainty about cultural issues. The survey identified a significant training need to help paediatricians identify and manage possible cases of FGM.
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