Pharmacists should be able to refer patients to NHS genomics services, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said.
In its response to an NHS England consultation on an update to the Clinical Genomics Service specification, Thorrun Govind, chair of the RPS English Pharmacy Board, said: “Pharmacy professionals should have the potential to signpost patients and appropriately refer patients to the NHS genetics services.”
Under the Clinical Genomics Service, doctors — whom the NHS say are typically clinical geneticists — and genetic counsellors work with other healthcare professionals to diagnose genetic conditions, as well as providing and coordinating treatment.
The original service specification for the Clinical Genomics Service, previously known as ‘Clinical genetics’, was published in 2013. Then, in October 2018, the NHS Genomic Medicine Service was established.
NHS England’s consultation document, published on 1 September 2022, said: “It is important that the revised specification reflects the infrastructure changes brought about by the formation of the NHS Genomic Medicines Service, as well as reflecting developments within the service post-launch.”
However, in the RPS’s consultation response, Govind said: “The service specification seems very medically orientated and throughout the specification there is no mention of pharmacy professionals or pharmacists as healthcare professionals working within the wider multidisciplinary team.
“The RPS would like the key role of pharmacists and pharmacy technicians mentioned within the document and an explanation on how they can enrich and complement the service, including their role within clinical governance and multidisciplinary teams.
“In oncology services, well governed robust pathways are developed by oncology multiprofessional teams where the pharmacist can play a significant co-lead role in implementation.”
Govind added that pharmacogenomics should have been included within the draft consultation.
“The service specification is very much focused around ‘diagnosis’, which implies disease, so it is right to include pharmacogenomics within this with some explanation of what this is and what it means.”