Nov 22nd 2019
NHS Hero: Alison passionate about making a difference for FGM victims.
Alison Byrne, FGM Specialist Midwife
She’s the caring midwife who victims of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) receive help from when they are in need of treatment.
Alison Byrne has been dedicated to the specialist FGM service since it was conceived in 2002 to treat and care for pregnant women within the West Midlands.
The mum-of-two joined Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust two years ago to develop the service further within the area, and is leading the opening of a new FGM clinic for non-pregnant women which is being run by the organisation.
“I have worked within the FGM field for 17 years and still feel incredibly passionate about making a difference for the women who have undergone the procedure,” said Alison, who hails from Sutton Coldfield.
“For the pregnant women, it is mainly to create a positive birth experience and for non-pregnant women it is addressing any physical and psychological issues they may be enduring. I strive to ensure that women that come and see us have the highest standards of care and I use a holistic approach to do this.
“I think it’s really important that when we are treating victims of FGM, we are compassionate and empathetic towards these women who have undergone such an horrific and unnecessary experience.”
Alison runs regular clinics at City Hospital where women’s needs are assessed and identified. She will then create a care plan for them.
Summerfield Women’s Clinic, the new FGM clinic, is based at Summerfield Primary Care Centre, in Heath Street, Winson Green, and will work on a similar basis. It opened on 25 November.
“My next big challenge will be the launch of the FGM clinic,” she said. “It is part of a pilot within NHS England and it will be so much easier for women to access this service in a community setting through any referral pathway across the Midlands.
“I am looking forward to it opening and hope it will ease women’s access to obtaining help and support with their FGM.”
Alison has been recognised for her work, winning a Royal College of Midwives award for the service when it first opened. “My work has taken me to many meetings and led to various collaborations with national organisations, which I enjoy immensely.”
It’s no surprise to learn that it’s the continuation of this work with women and their families that drives Alison.
“Within these communities that I care for, I have seen the most inspirational people with an incredible attitude to life,” she added. “I admire them greatly and am truly inspired by each and every one of them. They are my heroes.”
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