Health Education England has revealed a multimillion pound project to prepare the NHS workforce for the advent of healthcare based on advances in genetic medicine.
The national education and training body unveiled its genomics programme at the NHS Confederation conference, and revealed it will begin making changes within next year’s annual workforce planning process.
HEE hopes the development of genomics will revolutionise healthcare in the NHS, and will require significant changes to the education and training of the NHS workforce as part of the UK’s 100,000 Genome Project.
The Department of Health has invested £25m into the project, with HEE also adding to this from its £5bn budget.
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The project aims to help create new genomics based services, and increase bioinformatics’ capability to understand and interpret genetic data and provide wider knowledge of genomics among the workforce.
To deliver some of this, HEE is planning to commission an MSc in genomics medicine, specific continuing professional development programmes, research fellowships and an NHS wide education and training scheme.
Sir Ian Cumming, chief executive of HEE, said: “We are at the stage with the 100,000 Genomes Project where we are starting to see the UK emerge as one of the leaders in this area. The Genome Project is the envy of the world.
“In 10 years time everyone in the country who wishes it will have their genome sequenced and it will cost about $100 and take just four hours.
“What we don’t have are the numbers to scale this up to a proper NHS wide service.
“The vast majority of people in the NHS will have had no formal training in genomics. We need to be starting now.”
Nicki Latham, chief operating officer at HEE and project leader, said: “This will change how we look at the workforce.
“There will be a variety of new careers we will need to train people for ranging from genetic counselling to bioinformaticians. We will need this workforce in the next two years and we will be making changes in the next workforce plan.”