Almost 50 appointments at NHS services in Wandsworth were made by concerned victims of Female Genital Mutilation, figures from NHS Digital show.

Of those 50, around 35 were having their injuries recorded by doctors, nurses or midwives for the first time.

FGM is where female genitals are cut, injured or changed for no medical reason – between July 2017 and June this year.

It is illegal in the UK and carrying it out or assisting in it being conducted, either in the UK or abroad, can be punished with up to 14 years in prison.

In 2015, the Government introduced FGM Protection Orders. Courts can use them to take preventative measures such as forcing potential victims of FGM to surrender their passport, so they are unable to fly abroad for procedures.

However, just 256 applications for the orders were submitted in the three years to June 2018 in England and Wales. Of those, 248 were granted.

Julia Lalla-Maharajh OBE, CEO and founder of Orchid Project said: "Over 200 million girls and women all over the world are affected by female genital cutting (FGC), including an estimated 137,000 in the UK. The physical and psychological impacts of the practice are often devastating, and can last a lifetime. These impacts include pain, haemorrhage, HIV transmission due to unsterilised instruments, post-traumatic stress disorder, urine and menstrual fluid retention due to infibulation (Type III FGC), flashbacks, scarring and obstetric fistula.

"Orchid Project's mission is to foster and accelerate abandonment of FGC around the world. We are working within communities around the world through non-judgemental, open dialogue which approaches FGC as a social norm. We have seen that this approach is one of the most effective to empower communities to abandon the practice."

The NSPCC estimates that 137,000 people living in the UK are victims of FGM.

The NSPCC's head of policy Almudena Lara said: “FGM is a barbaric practice that leaves its victims physically and mentally scarred. The actual number of victims is likely to be even higher, as only a tiny fraction come forward for medical help, and even then they may only come forward after many years have passed.

As well as providing treatment for injuries sustained through FGM, NHS services also advise patients on the illegality of the practice, and provide advice on its long-term health implications.

FGM is most commonly carried out within communities from Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and young girls are often flown abroad for ceremonies where FGM is performed.

Of the victims of FGM seen in Wandsworth, the majority did not have the country where their injuries were inflicted recorded. For the appointments where this information was recorded, they were most commonly in Eastern Africa.

Across England, there were 8,930 appointments for women and girls with FGM at NHS services over the 12-month period, with more than 4,000 having their injuries recorded for the first time. Most appointments concerned victims aged 30 to 34, and the majority were pregnant.