Female Genital Mutilation

Health written question – answered on 13th November 2012.

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Photo of Karl Turner Karl Turner Labour, Kingston upon Hull East

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will consider including a mandatory data collection question about female genital mutilation on GP registration forms.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

We have no plans to introduce a mandatory data collection question about female genital mutilation (FGM) on general practitioner (GP) registration forms.

There are several reasons why it would not be appropriate to ask a woman or girl if they have been subject to FGM on the registration form. Doing this would breach patient confidentiality since the forms are read and used by general practice staff for registration rather than clinical purposes. In addition, it is highly unlikely that those registering at a new practice would wish to reveal something this sensitive on an initial registration form; it can take a long time for a woman to build up the confidence in a health care practitioner to tell them that she has been mutilated. We would not want to deter people from registering with a GP by asking such a personal question at the time. In the case of girls, it is unlikely that parents registering their children would reveal this in any case since it is illegal to subject a child to FGM and declaring this would implicate the parents as perpetrators which may deter them from registering their daughters with a GP.

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