UK recognition of International Genetic Counsellor Training and Registration: A Continuing Dialogue
14th October 2011
The poster presentation was featured in the session called “Genetic Counselling and Clinical Testing” at the conference hosted in in Montreal, Canada.
Internationally, the number of Masters programmes in Genetic Counselling has doubled over the past 10 years to over 60, creating challenges for regulating bodies who receive requests from overseas trained individuals seeking employment abroad. The Genetic Counsellor Registration Board (GCRB) is the independent, not for profit company who registers Genetic Counsellors (GCs) and accredits MSc Genetic Counselling Programmes in the United Kingdom (UK). Registration (certification) began as a voluntary process in the UK in 2002 and today approximately 50% (151/300) of members of the Association of Genetic Nurses and Counsellors (AGNC) are registered with the GCRB, a number of whom were trained overseas. It is generally accepted that most Genetic Counsellors (GCs) in the UK are working towards registration. Increasingly, National Health Service employers are hiring only those GCs eligible to register with the GCRB, as the GC profession draws closer to being formally adopted by the Health Professions Council (HPC), the British Parliamentary regulatory body. The GCRB assesses the registration of overseas trained GCs within the UK, using formalised pathways agreed by a GCRB Working Group in 2006. Recognition is afforded to GCs who have trained and certified in the USA/Canada and Australasia, thus GCs from these countries who have completed a recognised training and certification in their own country are able to complete a reduced UK registration portfolio that takes account of their experience. The GCRB completed a large mapping exercise, which evaluated each country’s training, accreditation of training and professional regulation process. There is an increasing demand for registration in the UK by recognised and non recognised overseas trained GCs. In addition to this British registered GCs often wish to work outside of the UK and require that the GCRB act on their behalf to establish reciprocal registration agreements so that their British training and experience is recognised outside the UK. The GCRB present here current pathways for GCs trained outside of the UK to register professionally in the UK, and the evaluation model used for assessing overseas MSc Courses to facilitate this dialogue at the International Congress of Human Genetics.