The UK Genetic Testing Network (UKGTN) aims to promote high quality, equitable laboratory services for patients and their families who require genetic advice, diagnosis and management.
The fundamental underlying principle is that of equity of access based on clinical need. Patients and their families should be able to access a range of expert advice and appropriate tests via local genetics centres. These centres provide the clinical interface and act as a gateway to a coordinated network of laboratory services throughout the UK.
The UKGTN has built on previous collaborative arrangements between clinical diagnostic laboratories that offer molecular genetics services.
The UKGTN co-ordination function is to:
- Identify laboratory services: that meet defined criteria for participation in the network
- Member Laboratory services: to provide assurance to patients on the quality of clinically appropriate testing services and promote services that are fit for purpose, comparable and efficient
- Evaluation of new tests: evaluate new tests for scientific validity and clinical utility that member laboratories wish to provide to NHS patients on a national basis and make recommendations to commissioners
- Oversee transparent processes: over choice, evaluation and prioritisation of NHS funded tests available through the network
- Horizon scan: in response to genomic advances from research and technological developments to inform future service provision and policy within the NHS in the UK
- Commissioning: to advise commissioners on medical genetic service developments and undertake specific projects to promote equity of access to genetic testing
Genetics is a rapidly changing area and horizon scanning is essential for future informed commissioning. This is a collective responsibility for all those involved in the provision of genetics services since the best sources of intelligence are from those at the forefront of their fields. Those responsible for funding, developing and delivering network services need to keep abreast of relevant new diagnostic tests, technical advancements and research developments that will benefit patients. The UKGTN will provide a mechanism by which information can be collected and disseminated to support all stakeholders.