Gerry Hickey Senior Project Officer Migrant Women's Rights Service, brought this really important issue to my attention today A woman who had disclosed to her midwife that she had been subject to FGM as a child, was charged for maternity care. Following representations from Maternity Action to the Overseas Visitors Team (OVT) at the hospital, they agreed to cancel the charges for this maternity care.
Maternity Action had notified the OVT that in accordance with NHS (Charges to Visitors) Regulations 2015, ‘no charge may be made or recovered in respect of services provided in relation to the treatment of female genital mutilation’. Regulation 9 (f) (ii) of the regulations http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/238/contents/made
In relation to maternity services and FGM ‘this includes any maternity services (antenatal, perinatal and postpartum treatment) the need for which is caused by the mutilation"
As you may know, FGM can cause serious and life threatening complications to both mother and baby during labour and childbirth and, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, ‘women with FGM are more likely to have obstetric complications and consultant-led care is generally recommended’
We must make sure that if we are supporting women who have been subject to FGM and have been charged for their maternity care, to contact Maternity Care Access Advice Service