NHS England consults on proposed changes to the commissioning of genetic laboratory services

NHS England has launched a 12-week consultation on proposed changes to the way in which genetic laboratories are commissioned.

The proposals aim to deliver services across England which can better meet advances in genomic technologies, whilst driving improvements in quality and patient outcomes.

The proposed changes are set out in the new draft service specification, which has been informed by experts in the field.

Consultation is open to anybody with an interest in these services.


  1. Prof J R Bonham says:

    While I can understand that the scope of the proposed Hubs would not include biochemical testing related to the diagnosis and confirmation of inherited metabolic disorders currently offered by the 16 labs which form part of MetBioNet or the 13 newborn screen labs within England testing for eight genetic disorders in every child, it is a missed opportunity to fail to require that the Hubs consider and describe their linkage with these important laboratory networks.

    Currently, both newborn screening and diagnostic IMDs rely upon molecular diagnostics as an integral part of the screening protocol and/or diagnostic confirmation. Between these services, the workload is considerable performing more than 6.0 million tests annually. In the future it is likely that both of these services will depend to an even greater extent upon molecular genetic techniques. A failure to require the linkage to permit strategic planning when considering such a significant service development and procurement would be a serious omission.

    Kind regards

    Jim Bonham, on behalf of the Newborn Screening community and the 16 NHS Diagnostic laboratories which make up MetBioNet and offer diagnostic services for patients with a suspected inherited metabolic disorder.

  2. Sean Carey says:

    Whilst the higher aims of development, training and potentially some reduced costs overall are to be applauded, the benefits of smaller, local units providing a rapid response along with clinical input should not be forgotten.
    An audit of hospitals receiving support from laboratories not classed as ‘genomic centres’ will show benefits in advice, turnaround times and price. Fewer, larger centres would be able to set higher prices for work done, regardless of their actual cost.. these prices are currently hed in check by the NHS marketplace with more providers.