There has unfortunately been a number of inaccurate media reports on this subject, which as a council we have sought to correct. While we very much value the work that the clinic does and have sought to establish a good working relationship with them, Ealing Council has never been a direct funder or commissioner of the clinic; nor have we received a request for funding. It is inaccurate, therefore, to suggest that the council is closing the clinic, either directly or indirectly.
Since taking over responsibility for public health in 2013, Ealing Council has funded an advocacy worker to support women and families to access services for FGM and promote awareness of FGM in the community. This advocate has worked closely with the Acton African Well Woman Centre and has signposted women towards the clinical services that the clinic offers. We have committed to continue to commission this post in 2017/18 and, despite the severe financial pressures we are facing as a local authority, are making no reductions in our dedicated FGM community awareness service.
My understanding in regards to the funding for clinical services at the Acton African Well Woman Centre was is that this was previously secured through the Imperial College Healthcare Trust (ICHT). ICHT have decided to discontinue this service from 2017 unless it was fully commissioned by Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). I am told by the CCG that following consideration of the funding request, they decided not to grant funding as, in their view, there is suitable and sufficient provision for women who have undergone FGM elsewhere in north west London. Ealing CCG is an NHS body and this decision not to fund the clinic was made without reference to the council. I would therefore suggest that, in the first instance, your concerns are best addressed to ICHT and Ealing CCG.
Ealing is strongly committed to supporting services for women who have undergone FGM, as well as working to reduce and prevent new occurrences among Ealing residents, safeguarding the level of funding we have provided and continuing to provide an advocacy, awareness and signposting service.