As genomic testing increases, it is time to focus on post test care for patients
16th October 2020
Abstract from article:
It is time for genetics services to rethink where they are focusing their resources, argue two genetic counsellors with experience of working in NHS specialist genetic services, research, and policy
Genomic testing is increasingly a part of mainstream healthcare and is positioned high on the political agenda (Chief Medical Officers Report 2017, EU Commission). A recent UK government report (Genome UK) and previous announcements by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, have raised the profile of genomics as a technology offering significant benefits to patients in terms of predicting and diagnosing disease, as well as personalising treatments. Initiatives such as the 100,000 Genomes Project, changes in the delivery of laboratory genetic services in the NHS in England, and the launch of the new NHS Genomic Medicine Service, mean that genomic technology is here to stay.
Commentators have raised concerns about the benefits of such testing in healthy individuals, and the problems for clinical services left to pick up the pieces by consumers who have accessed genetic testing directly (RCGP 2019). These issues are entirely relevant, and authors rightly argue for caution in widespread implementation of genomic technologies where they may not be clinically relevant. Legal cases have also highlighted ethical tensions between who has a right to know or withhold genetic information (Middleton A et al 2019).