HEALTH experts have warned new figures revealing victims of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the town are just the tip of the iceberg.

Figures obtained by The Observer show at least 11 women who had babies at Wexham Park Hospital in the last three years were victims of the barbaric practice.

They are believed to be the first official figures of recorded FGM uncovered in the town.

FGM campaigner Dr Phoebe Abe, from Iver, said: “The real figure is much higher. Recording at hospitals is a joke. A lot of professional people do not want to record it. Many women with FGM would not talk about it when asked, so many go undetected.” All hospitals are now required to record women who are treated for FGM. It is part of a government drive to find out how many women have been subjected to the illegal practice, with figures due to be published in the Autumn.

Wexham Park Hospital did not used to record FGM prior to the new rules being introduced in April.

But The Observer has discovered midwives did record if a mother had complications with her birth due to her being a victim of FGM. The hospital said they are recorded because it is a potential safeguarding issue for the child. Details are then passed on to a health worker to monitor.

Figures, released after a Freedom of Information request by The Observer, show four babies were born to mothers who are victims of FGM in 2013, one in 2012 and six in 2011. Of those, two were from Pakistan and the others African.

But Dr Abe said the lack of reporting means the true extent remains uncovered. She has a group of 61 victims who regularly meet at her surgery in Yiewsley and said she has anecdotal evidence of more than 200 FGM victims in Slough’s Somalian community alone.

The majority of cases of FGM are carried out in 28 African countries, many of which have large communities in Slough. The town has been listed by the Department of Health as one of 11 FGM hotspots across the country.

The Observer exclusively reported last month Slough council was vowing to do all it can to scrutinise reporting of the crime. It is also a priority of the town’s Local Slough Safeguarding Board and the Thames Valley Police crime commissioner.

Despite being a criminal offence since 1985, the first prosecutions were only announced last month.