The proposals include plans to become the first health service in the world to offer whole genome sequencing for all children with cancer, so that treatments can be tailored to target the specific genetic mutations of a patient’s tumour. The service also plans to use genetic testing to help thousands of people whose genetic make-up means they have dangerously high cholesterol levels.
By New Scientist staff and Press Association
JANUARY 7, 2019 – A 10-year plan for the future of the National Health Service in England aims to improve mental health services and maternity care, and use digital technologies to make access to healthcare easier.The plan, launched by NHS England today, also outlines proposals for expanding the use of genetic testing and whole-genome sequencing. But critics have warned that funding and staffing shortfalls could obstruct the plan.
A renewed drive to extend survival from cancer by improving early diagnosis of the disease will see the NHS cancer screening programmes overhauled, new investment in diagnostic technology and extra funds for research and innovation. The health service will make it easier for patients offered screening appointments to attend by extending the use of new tests for bowel cancer, mobile lung cancer screening units and rapid diagnostic centres that yield a result on the same day. The age at which people are offered bowel cancer screening will be lowered from 60 to 50.