Clinical Geneticists and Genetic Counsellors at Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) have developed several short e-learning modules to help healthcare professionals across the East of England and East Midlands offer genomic testing to patients.
Two modules are now live and are now being rolled out across the region to oncologists and cardiologists. They focus on hereditary (or germline) genetic testing in patients with breast cancer and testing for those with inherited cardiac conditions.
A further module for primary care clinicians is expected to be launched later in the year.
As genomic testing becomes more mainstream these modules should give clinicians the confidence to organise their own testing.Dr Sarju Mehta, Speciality Lead and Consultant in Clinical Genetics at CUH
Genetic testing is available for a variety of conditions under certain specific criteria. The NHS National Genomic Test Directory (opens in a new tab) specifies which patients should be offered genetic testing. It also specifies who can order genetic tests and this now includes a range of specialists including oncologists and cardiologists to facilitate the mainstreaming of genetic testing.
Dr Sarju Mehta, Speciality Lead and Consultant in Clinical Genetics at CUH, commented:
“These modules should help clinicians know when tests should be ordered and the steps involved so that they can keep their patients informed. I am very pleased with the packages and hope that clinicians will find them useful.”
Once a test has been ordered, the results will be reported back to the requesting clinician within a specific time period so that they can inform the patient. Most patients will not require a referral to the Clinical Genetics service, however, for any patients with a likely/pathogenic variant or if a genetic cause is strongly suspected a referral should be made by the clinician to the local Clinical Genetics service.
Further details on indications for referral, contact details of the three Clinical Genetics services within the East Genomics region and how to refer are in the eLearning module. The appropriate Clinical Genetics service will support clinicians or provide further training as required.