The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has put forward plans to reduce its funding to Genomics England by £40m in 2019/2020 as the body receives a new funding model to match its latest target to sequence five million genomes in five years.
In its Estimates Memorandum, which sets out departmental spending for the financial year, the DHSC has said it plans to reduce spending on special health authorities, non-departmental public bodies and arm’s-length bodies by a total of £51m in 2019/2020.
The document, which was submitted to the House of Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee for scrutiny, added that this includes a reduction of “£40m for Genomics England Limited (GEL)”.
“In 2015, GEL was awarded £250m of capital funding over five years at a £50m per annum flat profile. GEL spent more than the profiled budget in 2018/2019 to complete the 100,000 Genomes Project and will spend less in 2019/2020 it moves to a new funding model,” the document said.
In October 2018, health secretary Matt Hancock announced that NHS England’s 100,000 Genomes Project, run by GEL, would expand over the next five years to sequence 5 million genomes.
A spokesperson for GEL told The Pharmaceutical Journal that the new ambition will require a different funding model and it is not being viewed as a cut.
The spokesperson said: “The project’s ambition was to establish a sequencing service for the NHS and to securely organise the genomic data we collected for access by researchers from academia and industry who were looking for new ways to develop diagnostic tools and medicines. We reached the sequencing milestone in December 2018.
“The work of Genomics England will now change from delivering the 100,000 Genomes Project to supporting the NHS in delivering the secretary of state’s ambition to sequence five million genomes over five years. As our work changes, the funding model will also change.”