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As efforts to embed genomics across the NHS move ahead, NHS England (NHSE) is consulting on proposals for a shake-up of genetics laboratory services.
The planned changes are intended to support the 100,000 Genomes Project led by Genomics England, as well as creating a comprehensive service providing high-quality genetic and genomic testing for NHS patients across the country.
The need for change arises in part from the movement from genetic to genomic testing. Advances in DNA sequencing technologies and associated data analysis techniques are making it possible to examine an individual’s entire genome – all 3,000 million base pairs – for health-related variations.
The intention from NHSE is to move services from small to medium scale operations run from most hospitals into large scale operations run in a few hospitals. These new centres will be called Genomics Central Laboratory Hubs (GCLH).
GCLH’s should provide efficiency of scale, cost saving, and increased opportunities to improve patient care, not only in the traditional area of rare, inheritable diseases but more widely in cancer and other clinical fields such as paediatrics or cardiology. The impact will be felt not only in diagnosis but also in helping individuals to choose the best treatment.
Wessex AHSN has coordinated the strategic review of the current Wessex NHS Genomics service. Evaluation includes stakeholder management, geographic location and operational models for each element of the service and is supported by a full financial appraisal.
Working together with other local stakeholders, we eagerly await the outcome of NHSE’s consultation, and the expected tender to host GCLH’s.
For more details, contact Frank.Ratcliff@wessexahsn.net