Gearing up for one of the most fundamental changes in NHS history

Sir Bruce Keogh has outlined an emerging strategy for Personalised Medicine in the NHS.

NHS England’s National Medical Director said it would entail a move away from a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the treatment and care of patients with a particular condition, to using diagnostics, genomics, data analytics and other emergent technologies to identify the underlying cause of disease.

He told NHS England’s Board this was the way to ensure the right patient gets the right treatment at the right time, leading to improved outcomes.

Sir Bruce Keogh said: “The shift to personalised medicine is already underway – our role as a system leader and commissioning organisation is to consider how this transformation can be accelerated.

“To date, our main focus has been on the NHS contribution to the 100,000 Genomes Project and on embedding genomic technologies into clinical care pathways, supporting the NHS in becoming one of the most advanced healthcare systems in the world in relation to genomic medicine.

“To ensure we capitalise on the current NHS transformation and the investment made by both NHS England and the NHS, there is a need to locate this initiative within a broader and more expansive strategy for personalised medicine.”

“The aims of this strategy are consistent with the Five Year Forward View and the future challenges for the health system as well as the priorities for the NHS, including: improved prevention based on underlying predisposition; earlier diagnosis of disease as a result of identifying abnormality earlier; more precise diagnosis based on cause; and targeted interventions through the use of companion diagnostics to identify and stratify effective treatments.”

He explained that the NHS looked forward to working with internal and external stakeholders and recognised experts – academia, clinicians, commissioners, industry, voluntary sector, patients and the public – inclusive of those working in the field of information and complex analytical solutions in other sectors to develop this strategy and embed it in the NHS.

Professor Sue Hill, NHS Chief Scientific Officer for England and the clinical lead for the 100,000 Genomes Project, explains in a blog how new technologies are opening up a wealth of new diagnostic and therapeutic information and how patients, scientists and clinicians are starting to forge a new path for medicine.

And in another blog Peter Grainger, Patient and Public Involvement representative at St Mark’s Hospital, explains how genetic science is driving improvements in personalised medicine – and what it means to his family.