Fair access to genetics needed in mainstream medical services

20 March 2011

A new approach is needed to ensure that genomics is embedded throughout mainstream medical practice, according to the PHG Foundation.
Genomics offers expanding opportunities for improved diagnosis and management for patients with inherited conditions, who represent a significant sub-group within many medical specialties such cardiology, neurology and nephrology. The report Genetics in mainstream medicine presents findings that the UK approach of genomic knowledge and applications diffusing from specialist genetics services throughout mainstream medical practice is not effective.
Joint clinics combining genetic and other clinical expertise are typically very good; however, access to such services across the UK is highly inequitable. This situation is likely to worsen as demand for genetics input to clinical care continues to increase.
The report proposes a new approach whereby mainstream clinical fields take ownership of genetics, incorporating it into care pathways and professional competencies and creating new opportunities for sub-specialisation. Regional genetics laboratories would play a vital leadership vital role.

Comment: This report forms an important contribution to the need for practical policy solutions with respect to genetics in medicine in the UK, and will also provide useful strategic insights for health services in other countries considering how to take advantage of emerging opportunities for better care offered by genomics.  

More from us

Genomics and policy news