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Preparing clinicians for genomic medicine
  1. Ingrid Slade1,2,
  2. Hilary Burton3
  1. 1Nuffield Department of Population Health, The Ethox Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  2. 2Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and Centre for Personalised Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  3. 3PHG Foundation, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hilary Burton, PHG Foundation, 2, Worts Causeway, Cambridge CB1 8RN, UK; hilary.burton{at}phgfoundation.org STANDFIRST: effective clinical leadership from within medical specialties is required to ensure successful workforce preparation for the implementation of genomic medicine.

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Introduction

Medical advances in the field of genomics are progressing at an almost unimaginable speed. There are clear expectations that genomic technologies will ‘transform’ medical care and deliver the new era of precision medicine. Integrating genomics into clinical pathways will enable a better understanding of disease risk, enhanced diagnostics to determine the molecular basis of disease and treatments fine-tuned to the patient's physiology.1 It will form a central plank of NHS England's emerging Personalised Medicine Strategy.2 However, wide-scale transformation requires that clinicians are open to new possibilities and willing to adopt new practices—both as individuals and in teams providing healthcare services.3

In the UK, the creation of Genomics England and funding of the 100 000 Genomes Project have raised the profile of genomics for health and placed education of the workforce as one of the central pillars.4 While the current and future relevance of genomics is becoming clear, there is a danger that the realisation of benefits for better health may be defeated by the sheer scale and breadth of change in clinical practice that is required and the complexity of the educational landscape through which such workforce development must act. We believe that leadership from within clinical specialties will be a key requirement for change. In this article, we provide a description of the situation in the UK. While detailed arrangements will differ we believe that the principles will be applicable internationally where similar educational needs are recognised.5

How will genomic medicine be relevant in clinical specialties?

According to the General Medical Council, in the UK there are some 73 000 licensed doctors on the specialist register and a further 60 000 in general practice.6 Few of these specialists will escape the impact of genomics in the next few years. Whether in primary care, district general hospitals or tertiary centres, all clinicians will need to be …

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