UK Genetic Testing Network recommends 60 new tests for NHS

29 October 2013

The UK Genetic Testing Network (UKGTN) has evaluated and recommended for use by the National Health Service (NHS) a total of sixty new genetic tests, including twelve new panel tests that utilise next-generation sequencing technologies.
The UKGTN provides advice and commissioning support to the NHS on genetic testing, with a mission to promote equitable access to high quality genetic testing services.. They evaluate genetic tests for conditions that are too rare for standard evaluation by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Following recent decisions on test provision by the UKGTN’s Clinical and Scientific Advisory Group, full details on each test including criteria for their use will be available via the UKGTN website by December 2013, and the tests that are approved for funding will come into use from April 2014.
Test are evaluated according to a range of criteria including information about the relevant medical condition; the purpose and characteristics of the test, the context in which it is to be used and the clinical utility including improvements in the quality of care and clinical outcomes. Eighteen of the sixty new tests approved were evaluated under a specialised UKGTN process for very rare diseases, where the evidence thresholds are different compared to more common (albeit still rare) conditions.

The new tests are for use by specialist clinical geneticists and experts from a total of 25 different clinical specialities, notably neurology and paediatric neurology, falling within 20 different Clinical Reference Groups (CRGs) in England. Investment of approximately £600,000 per year in total for the UK is said to be required to deliver the new approved tests for the population. 

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