A closer look at the NHS Genomic medicine service

From 28 June to 2 July is Genomics Awareness Week, so how can clinicians at the Trust make better use of genomics? Genomic Transformation Manager Demetra Georgiou outlines some of the progress made so far on NHS England’s new national genomic medicine service.

The introduction of an NHS Genomic Medicine Service (GMS) is a world-leading initiative that aims to integrate genomic medicine into routine NHS patient care and has the potential to transform healthcare in the UK. The initial focus of this service is on increasing diagnostic services for cancer and rare diseases, while also harnessing the use of personalised medicine for therapeutic interventions. 

Capitalising on the infrastructure developed through the 100,000 Genomes Project, the GMS is underpinned by a network of seven Genomic Laboratory Hubs (GLHs). A central feature of the NHS GMS is the delivery of the National Genomic Test Directory, which specifies which genomic tests are commissioned by NHS England. The Test Directory sets out the technology by which tests are available and the patients who will be eligible to access a test. It was developed from the existing provision of genomic testing in the NHS and was subject to extensive review by national clinical and scientific experts, existing genetic laboratory staff, patient and public representatives and organisations.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust’s Genomic and Personalised Medicine service is contributing in consolidating the UK’s position as a global leader in genomics. Through its participation of delivering the national genomic healthcare strategy the service supports the offer of whole genome sequencing (WGS) to patients as a diagnostic test for a number of specific conditions, including 21 rare diseases and acute leukaemias, as part of previously announced plans to sequence 500,000 whole genomes within the NHS. 

Our trust also has a number of specialised genomics clinics as well as multidisciplinary genetics clinics offering high quality service locally, regionally and nationally. Our Genomic and Personalised Medicine team has developed several joint working models, formed specialised MDTs, used innovative means to facilitate remote consultations for neonates in our Trust. A list of some of our activities can be seen on the Trust website.

If you or your service would like to know more about how genomics can be applied in the care of your patients or if you would like to know how we could help, please contact us.