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Health secretary wants genomic sequences accessible via GP records

Patients could be able to access their genomic sequence from their patient record in a similar way to accessing ‘bank account details’, the health secretary has said.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference earlier this month, Matt Hancock said he could ‘see a world’ where ‘our genome sequence [is] on our electronic patient record’ to help doctors make diagnoses.

This came after Mr Hancock pledged to expand the Government’s project from sequencing 100,000 patients’ genomes to one million genomes in his keynote speech to the conference.

The project was first launched in 2013 by former health secretary Jeremy Hunt as part of the NHS’s 65th birthday celebrations.

Mr Hancock said at the event: ‘Many other countries have emulated us. It means almost 100,000 people have their whole genomes sequenced both providing research opportunities but also the opportunities for diagnosis and we’re going to expand this in a big way.’

He added: ‘I can see a world – we’ve sorted out the cyber security and we’re sure that we’ve got strong privacy and we have patient records that talk to each other – where you can choose to have your genome sequenced and put it on your patient record; in the same way that you can then access your bank account details.’

This comes after the Department of Health and Social Care released its IT ‘vision’ this month, which will see all patient records moved onto public cloud services.