Advanced diagnostics, genomics and precision medicine

Advanced diagnostics, genomics and precision medicine represent a significant change in how care will be designed and delivered in the future and will have significant implications for how education and skills are able to deliver this. WMAHSN promotes the use of advanced diagnostics and the development of genomics to precisely target treatments for individuals and groups of patients.

For some organisations, this will mean new ways of working involving novel and complex lab procedures, while other staff will be required to counsel patients and families about various different illnesses and new prevention and treatment options. Diagnostics in general will play an increasingly prominent role, in addition to the existing diagnostic challenges posed by seven day working and growth in activity across all forms of imaging and lab-based diagnostics. There is likely also to be development of new roles, and all staff will need a basic level of knowledge in order to be able to manage patient and service user queries.

WMAHSN promotes the use of advanced diagnostics and genomics to precisely target treatments for individuals and groups of patients. One of the main mechanisms for delivering this priority is the West Midlands Genomic Medicine Centre (WM GMC), one of 11 centres across the country that are leading the way in delivering the 100,000 Genomes Project.

The initiative involves collecting and decoding 100,000 human genomes – complete sets of people’s genes – that will enable scientists and doctors to understand more about specific conditions. The three-year project will transform diagnosis and treatment for patients with rare diseases and some cancers. The WM GMC will deliver up to 18,000 of the total number of genomes, drawing on its unique population through a collaboration of healthcare organisations.

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust is leading the WM GMC on behalf of all 18 acute trusts in the region, with the University of Birmingham as its academic partner. The collaboration is underpinned by the WMAHSN, which has funded three Genomics Medicine Ambassadors to spread the message across the region. 

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Contacts

To access this service, contact Dr Christopher Clowes, Genomics Ambassador (West Midlands North), on christopher.clowes@uhnm.nhs.uk or 01782 671939, Sean James, Genomics Ambassador (West Midlands South), on sean.james@uhcw.nhs.uk, 02476 968687 or 02476 965428, or Charlotte Hitchcock, Genomics Ambassador (West Midlands Central), on c.hitchcock@nhs.net, 01902 447146 or 07342 074651