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Exploring the need for education about genomics

Health Education England (HEE) were keen to know how much training was needed for key clinical areas across the south west of England to be comfortable working with genomics. An understanding of the existing genomics knowledge and expertise was needed as a starting point. We led a scoping review relating to the field of genomics to explore this on behalf of HEE. 

The insight gathered enabled the South West Genomic Medicine Service Alliance (SW GMSA) to deliver a targeted workforce development programme.


SW GMSA required an understanding of the current genomic knowledge and expertise in their region to identify any gaps. This would enable them to deliver a targeted workforce development programme to fill those gaps. The work was supported by Health Education England’s Genomics Education Programme (GEP). 

Our approach

We conducted a scoping review to explore the existing level of knowledge and expertise relating to genomics in key clinical areas across the south west of England.  Insights revealed the levels of training completed in the SW compared to nationally. The training requirements for the medical, nursing, midwifery, and pharmacy workforce were also captured which helped to identify barriers to uptake, as well as proposing potential solutions.

We delivered:

• A comprehensive catalogue of genomics training resources provided both by GEP and other education providers and workstreams

• Training skills matrices for doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists to self-assess against competencies and link to relevant training resources

• Relevance to roles infographics to raise awareness of how genomic literacy is required for professions and signposting to free and easily accessible training resources.


As the SW GMSA was in its infancy the education scoping was able to inform the education strategy and training needs for the alliance.  The report findings have been shared with the SW GMSA for them to translate the detailed information and recommendations into specific actions. 

HEE/GEP has welcomed the report as a good basis for raising awareness and developing genomic literacy, which will be developed further by each of the professional groups. 

The SW GMSA education lead is planning to use the training skills matrix with the GEP to try to strengthen the self-assessment aspect that they are building for their website.

Dr Kate Tatton-Brown, leading genomics education for HEE/GEP, is utilising the work as a starting point for work with the Medical Royal Colleges. This has saved duplicating the work on scoping the other non-GEP genomics education resources. 

Infographics on relevance to roles will provide an essential resource in engaging clinical groups' interest in genomics in line with the NHS Long Term Plan of mainstreaming genomics into routine healthcare. 

We weren’t quite sure what we wanted or what we were going to do or how we were going to do it, but this definitely gets us exactly where we need to be - Programme Director, South West Genomic Medicine Service Alliance

This is a brilliant place to put it all together for our starting point, it’s really comprehensive and clear - Genomics Programme Manager, South West Genomic Medicine Service Alliance
The self-assessment training matrices and relevance to roles infographics have saved a lot of work for us and the HEE team - Education and Training Lead, South West Genomic Laboratory Hub

 To find out more, contact Zoe Bristow, Clinical Project Manager, Cancer and Long-Term Conditions - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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