Communication between specialist genetic services, CCGs and GPs: a service development project

Talk Code: 
Judith Gordon
Author institutions: 
Abbey Grange Medical Practice

The Problem

Genomics services are advancing rapidly. Development of these services must allow for effective information dissemination to, and communication with, primary care. However, specialist services can struggle to effectively communicate information to GPs as a whole.


The Approach

We developed an e-survey to assess Clinical Commissioning Groups’ (CCGs) mechanisms of information dissemination and General Practitioners’ (GPs) access to specialist advice. All 17 local CCGs were invited to participate. A semi-structured interview script was developed for face-to-face interviews.


The Learning

82% of surveys were completed. CCGs disseminated information to GPs mostly by emails to practice managers (100%) and GPs (93%), educational events (86%), and CCG newsletters (86%). Overall, educational events were identified as the most effective method and emails to GPs relatively ineffective. The most common methods for GPs to access specialist advice were phone (79%) and electronic ‘advice and guidance’ (A&G) systems (79%). Phone and electronic advice were the preferred options for a new genetics advice service.


Three respondents consented to interview. All felt that short, practical updates on genetics (rather than a full dedicated session) would be useful at their educational events. All had website portals for referral information, on which they felt genetics content would be useful. Simple updates could also be emailed to CCGs for dissemination via newsletter.  Electronic A&G was the favoured specialist advice method.


Why It Matters

Short, practical educational sessions could be used to share genetics updates. Simple updates could be emailed to CCGs (for inclusion in newsletters/emails to practice managers) or uploaded onto CCG portals. Electronic advice methods, such as A&G and email, should be considered in genomic medicine service development.

It is hoped that the findings from this project can be combined with similar work taking place looking at GPs’ views and help to inform new service specifications for genetics services.


Presenting author:

Dr Judith Gordon, GP Registrar, Abbey Grange Medical Practice. (At time of project work: HEE Leadership Fellow in Genomics in Primary Care).


Dr Julian Adlard, Consultant Geneticist, Yorkshire Regional Genetics Service.

Dr Rosalyn Jewell, Consultant Geneticist, Yorkshire Regional Genetics Service.

Dr Jude Hayward, GPwSI in Genetics, Yorkshire Regional Genetics Service.