Genetic Counsellors: An Important Part of Multidisciplinary Clinical Healthcare Teams

How genetic counsellors can help their colleagues learn about genetics

Genomics is set to transform NHS clinical care in the coming years; but for research, such as the outcomes from the UK’s 100,000 Genomes Project, to be implemented effectively into healthcare systems, it is essential for appropriate training to be delivered, and multidisciplinary teams to be developed within clinical practice settings.

Possessing expert skills, knowledge and expertise in genetics, genomics, and holistic patient and family care, it’s becoming obvious that genetic counsellors are one of the most appropriate professions to provide the necessary training required by the wider healthcare workforce (as relevant to their individual roles), to successfully establish these vital multidisciplinary skills-sets, and support the ambitions of the NHS Genomic Medicine Service.

“Genetic Counsellors are increasingly playing a pivotal role in MDT (Multidisciplinary Team Meetings), which is a great way of mainstreaming genomic knowledge from genetic counsellors into the wider healthcare team”

Dr Gemma Chandratillake (Education and Training Lead for the East of England NHS Genomic Medicine Centre)
Dr Gemma Chandratillake (Education and Training Lead for the East of England NHS Genomic Medicine Centre)

Join us for the third in our series of “Voices of Genetic Counsellors” videos, created by members of our Wellcome Genome Campus Society and Ethics Research team, in partnership with the Association of Genetic Nurses and Counsellors (AGNC), to explore with Dr Gemma Chandratillake, Education and Training Lead for the East of England NHS Genomic Medicine Centre, the value genetic counsellors offer the NHS as core trainers and developers of genomic understanding and skills across healthcare delivery networks.

Gemma also discusses the importance of training for the efficiency of mainstreaming genetic testing, by ensuring that the whole of the healthcare workforce is skilled enough to order the appropriate test, as relevant to each patient.

“As genetic and genomic testing becomes more widespread and integrated with other clinical areas, there is growing importance to have a healthcare workforce that understands genomics and can consider the implications of having these tests.”

Dr Gemma Chandratillake (Education and Training Lead for the East of England NHS Genomic Medicine Centre)

She also highlights the importance of developing strategies to acknowledge the relevance of genetic counsellors as key educators, providing opportunities for their roles to evolve beyond their respective patient responsibilities. She calls for genetic counsellors to be employed with a broader remit to support the effectiveness of whole groups of healthcare professionals adjusting to the implementation of genomic medicine; enabling systems, practitioners, patients and families to gain the most benefit from these new genomic possibilities.

Watch the video below, or visit our YouTube Channel.

Dr Gemma Chandratillake (Education and Training Lead for the East of England NHS Genomic Medicine Centre), discusses how the role of the genetic counsellor is evolving into a key educator of genomics within the professional healthcare service.

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