Editorials

Genetics and the general practitioner

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7405.2 (Published 03 July 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:2
  1. Fred Kavalier, primary care geneticist ([email protected]),
  2. Alastair Kent, director ([email protected])
  1. Department of Clinical Genetics, Guy's Hospital, London SE1 9RT
  2. Genetic Interest Group, London N1 3QP

    White paper takes the first steps down a long road

    Our Inheritance, Our Future, the white paper on genetics in the NHS, was launched last week after a painfully long gestation.1 Two weeks into his new job, John Reid, the secretary of state for health, acted as student midwife for the delivery of the white paper. He announced £50m ($83m;€72m) of new money for the development of genetics knowledge and skills and provision of genetics services within the NHS.

    Slightly more than two years ago Alan Milburn, who was then secretary of state, started the NHS genetics revolution.2 He invested £30m in genetics knowledge parks, national genetics reference laboratories, and specialised genetics services. The time has now come to begin spreading the genetics gospel into the wider community of professionals and patients. The white paper wants to incorporate genetics advances into everyday clinical practice.

    Over the next three years pilots will be set up to kickstart initiatives in primary care genetics. Ten general practitioners with a special interest in genetics will be funded, although exactly how they will work is not clear. A partnership model, in which primary care physicians and geneticists learn from each other, as envisaged by Burke and Emery,3 may …

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