Genetic Units (GenUs)

All NHS services are required to return data on service activity in order to inform contracts and future developments.  Historically, genetics laboratories used a system of “workload units” with one unit being equivalent to one minute of working time. There was little standardisation and laboratories applied them inconsistently. Consequently the UKGTN, in collaboration with professional organisations, has developed a system that is relatively easy to use and consistently applied.  

The system is based on allocating genetic testing reports to one of a number of weighted bands.  The bands are labelled A to H and the weight of each band is the GenU score.  Band A currently has a weight of 1 GenU and band H a weight of 40 GenUs.  

Each sample received by a laboratory where DNA is extracted will be allocated a band A and 1 GenU to account for the work involved in preparing a sample for testing.  The laboratory then records the number of reports per band based on the tables and instructions provided.

The current approved version of GenUs was approved in early 2016 and is referred to as the 2016 version.  It should be used for recording activity from April 2016.  Previous versions of the system were approved in 2014 and 2012.  Information for using each version is available from the links below:

The UKGTN reports on the use of GenUs in member laboratories using information submitted as part of UKGTN Annual Returns and from data submitted as part of the UK external quality assessment schemes for both molecular and cytogenetics. 

In February 2013 the UKGTN hosted a workshop with the ACGS to review the cytogenetics element of the 2012 version and to discuss how tests using Next Generation Sequencing technology should be incorporated. Information about the workshop is available from a news item available here.

The ownership and roles of the UKGTN and the Association for Clinical Genetic Science have been agreed by both parties and are detailed in documentation below.

Further details about the background and development of the GenU system are available below.

Jane Deller