Is The NHS Ready For Genetic Medicine?

by Malc on August 7, 2011

The NHS And The Human Genome

The NHS And The Human Genome (Image via Wikipedia)

Ten years after the human genome was sequenced, the UK National Health Service (NHS) is ill-prepared to deal with the benefits. A report by Sir John Bell states that “There has already been a lot of innovation almost none of which has been adopted by the NHS.”

I suppose this should not be too surprising: this morning an article on BBC’s Radio 4 highlighted the failure to standardise NHS records into an electronic form accessible by any health authority.

Of course, both these measures – digitizing records and accessing more and more patients’ genetic data – has huge implications for personal privacy.

From the illegal perspective – hackers can get in anywhere: and they will get access to our personal records.

And insurance companies will desperately want access to the data legally if they possibly can.

On the positive front, Prime Minister David Cameron has taken a personal interest in getting genetics to the centre of NHS treatment. Let’s hope he makes an impact on the NHS which, while wonderful in some respects, is cumbersome and disorganised in others.

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