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Sources of help and advice

Your patients may have lots of questions about genetics and their health. These might include questions about:

In these situations, you may choose to follow one of three courses of action. The one you choose should be appropriate to the limits of your role, responsibility, knowledge and experience.

 

1. Find accurate, appropriate information and advise the patient yourself

Where you feel you have sufficient knowledge and experience and it is appropriate to your role, you may wish to source information and answer the patient's questions yourself.

Information about some conditions can be accessed from the Genetic Conditions section of this website.

Tools to help you communicate genetic information and inheritance can be accessed from the I'm in Clinical Practice section of this website.

Testing for breast cancer

Dr Christine Patch, Consultant Genetic Counsellor and Manager

In this video Dr Christine Patch explains how genetic testing can help a family where there is breast cancer. Length: 1 minute 19 seconds.

 

2. Refer the patient to a specialist service within the NHS

The service to which you refer the patient may depend upon the condition or the question the patient has as well as the referral guidelines appropriate to your area of work. A network of Regional Genetics Departments cover the UK, holding clinics in local hospitals as appropriate. Within the Regional Genetics Departments, staff make diagnoses, carry out genetic risk assessments and provide patients with genetic counselling. Where appropriate, they will offer genetic testing and discuss management and treatment options with patients. You can find the contact details for your local Regional Genetics Department using the interactive map.


View Regional Genetics Services/Units in a larger map

 

A PDF document

Making a referral to your Regional Genetics Centre (Genetic activities in practice)

A summary of how to refer a patient to a genetics centre.

 

A PDF document

What does a patient need to know about a referral to the genetics service? (Genetic activities in practice)

A summary of the information patients need to know when they are referred to a genetics service.

 

3. Identify an external organisation equipped to meet the patient's needs

A number of charities may be able to help your patient with further information and support:

 

Web Link

Genetic Alliance UK

Genetic Alliance UK is a national charity of patient organisations supporting all those affected by genetic disorders.

 

Web Link

Contact a family

Contact a family is a UK wide charity providing advice, information and support to the parents of all disabled children.

 

Web Link

Unique: rare chromosome disorder support group

This UK based charity provides information and support to both families and individuals affected by rare chromosome conditions as well as the health professionals involved in providing ongoing medical management and care. Over 100 condition leaflets are available for downloading.

 

Web Link

Cancer Research UK

This UK based charity provides information for health professionals, patients and families.