BSGM response to CMO report

posted on Monday, 10th July 2017   |   Not tagged.

The British Society of Genetic Medicine represents over 1800 professionals, including doctors, genetic counselors and laboratory scientists, working in the NHS, providing diagnosis, treatment and support to individuals and families affected by genetic and genomic conditions. This includes a network of clinical laboratories providing hundreds of thousands of genetic and genomic test results to patients with rare diseases and cancer every year to diagnose or predict these conditions and inform the selection of the most effective treatments or preventions. New genomic technologies, that have revolutionized genomic approaches over the past decade, are already in routine use by these laboratories.

We are delighted that the Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, has recognized the power of Genomic Medicine to make a significant difference to the well being of patients and their families in her Annual Report. The Report builds on the foundations laid by the network of Regional Genetics Services across the UK over the past decades, which have established an international reputation for the quality of the services provided within the NHS. These services have also catalysed novel research discoveries through the close working relationships between NHS and university departments in genomics.

In order to capitalize on the opportunities afforded by Genomic Medicine, these Regional Genetic Services are well placed to transform practices across all branches of medicine, including general practice, so that both the potential and the limitations of genetic/genomic testing are appropriately realised. Whole genome sequencing, at the cost and speeds available today, is a remarkable technical achievement, yet to make a diagnosis or accurate prediction it needs to be interpreted in the context of accurate clinical information. The expertise to link the clinical information with sequence data is central to the skills of our professional members.

Natural history studies, clinical trials and support for both health care professional and public education are also essential to continue to deliver a world class clinical service in genomic medicine. Whilst some laboratory functions are ripe for centralization, the role of existing regional laboratories working with clinical experts remains vital for the interpretation of complex genomic data. We welcome the CMO report and are willing and ready to help deliver genomic medicine to all areas of medical practice to meet the needs of all NHS patients.

Prof William Newman on behalf of the British Society for Genetic Medicine

Please click here for a PDF version of the report


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