From GenomEthics

What’s all the fuss about incidental findings?

Invited presentation to the Genethics Club

What’s all the fuss about incidental findings?

8th November 2013

Anna was invited to discuss her work on attitudes towards the return of incidental findings, for discussion with 30 genetic health professionals as part of a Genethics Club meeting at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, UK. The sharing of incidental findings is a very topical issue for Clinical Genetics Services and we were able to add our empirical data from <7,000 people from 75 different countries on public attitudes. This helped to shape the conversation about what could/should be shared with NHS patients accessing genomic sequencing technologies.

Excerpt from the Genethics Club:

“The Genethics Forum is for health professionals – and other interested parties – to discuss and explore difficult ethical and/or legal issues encountered in genetic medicine. The Genethics GeCIP (genomics England clinical interpretation partnership) focusses on such issues encountered in the 100,000 genomes project

The Genethics Forum takes place three times a year and anyone working in a clinical genetics department is welcome to come along. The meetings are relatively informal in order to facilitate discussion of cases presented from different centres. The meetings usually include a plenary talk on a particular theme of interest, such as for example, a talk by a medical lawyer on the law on confidentiality in genetics. The meetings are multi-disciplinary and aim to have a medical ethicist and an academic medical lawyer present at each meeting. The Genethics Club policy on confidentiality and case discussion is below.


To help health professionals to identify ethical issues arising in the day to day practice of their work with patients and families

To help geneticists, genetic counsellors and nurses to develop their skills in identifying and resolving ethical issues

To provide a forum for the presentation and discussion of cases from units around the country

To encourage the sharing of good practice

To help units to develop ways of ensuring that ethical considerations inform the day to day practice of their units

To contribute to the improvement of ethical decision-making in practice


Anyone working in the specialty of clinical genetics, as well as medical lawyers or ethicists with an interest in genetics.”



Middleton A (2013) What's all the fuss about incidental findings? Genethics Club Plenary presentation. Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, 8th November