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'Turf war' between GPSIs and specialists hampers genetics rollout

By Nigel Praities

A report on the rollout of GP-led genetics services is expected to say that progress is being hampered by a ‘turf war' between specialists and GPSIs.

Pilot GP-led genetics services were established in 2004, offering improved access to testing and counselling for genetic diseases such as familial breast cancer, haemophilia and muscular dystrophy.

But a wider roll-out now looks uncertain, with an evaluation submitted to the Department of Health expressing doubt about the how the schemes are working in practice.

Professor Graeme Currie, professor of public services management at the University of Nottingham, who led the review team, said his report would flag up problems in the relationship between GPs and specialists, as well as fears about PCT management of genetic services

‘It can be rolled out successfully but they need to aware of the potential turf war issues, in particular, the relationship between geneticists and GPSIs. There has to be a good relationship for training and development and quality and control.'

The Government announced a £2m investment in developing primary care genetics services in 2003, as part of its ‘Our inheritance Our future' white paper.

Ten primary care based services run by GPSIs in genetics were established a year later.

But Professor Currie said: ‘What it shouldn't be seen as is a way of developing genetics services more cheaply and there is a danger PCTs could fall into that.'

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