Overview of cancer genetics pilot services
The eight pilot services were organised and run in various ways, but followed a common pathway, which included:
- promoting the service to health professionals and, in some cases, the public
- easy access to the service through health professional referral and sometimes patient self-referral
- risk assessment of patients based on family history, according to agreed protocols
- classification of patients into high, moderate, and general population risk (at no greater genetic risk than a member of the general population), with clear pathways for each.
You can download a more detailed summary of the pilot services here.
All pilots also:
- trained non-genetic specialists to undertake genetic triage
- worked closely with specialist genetics services for training and service development, with some pilots overseen by genetics staff
- worked with primary care, secondary care and specialist genetics services to develop coordinated, consistent patient pathways, and to raise awareness of their service.
The pilots developed agreed pathways for patients, which generally meant:
- population-risk patients were reassured and discharged, in clinic or by letter
- moderate-risk patients were referred for clinical surveillance, such as mammography
- high-risk patients were referred for clinical surveillance, and for genetic counselling or testing (counselling was sometimes provided by the pilot service).
When planning services, the pilots used a national model for delivering cancer family history services.
The service innovations of the pilots were a key element of the Cancer Reform Strategy's recommendations for improved cancer family history services.