Scotland launches genomic medicine strategy
A person in a white coat looking at a computer screen.

Scotland has launched its first genomic medicine strategy, aimed at improving diagnoses and outcomes for patients with cancer and rare conditions.

The five-year strategy sets out how genomics can be best used in the NHS. For example, healthcare professionals could make more tailored decisions when treating most cancers as some people respond better to some treatments than others because of their genetic make-up.

Though the practice is already widely used across Scotland, this is the first strategy to co-ordinated the approach across Scotland.

The strategy aims to ensure timely access to the right test at the right time, so people can get quicker treatment and improve clinical pathways, to ensure better experiences for patients and more joined-up services, while at the same time, supporting staff with training, clear career paths and opportunities for development.

Health secretary Neil Gray said: “This new strategy marks the first step towards developing a world class genomic medicine service in Scotland that is agile enough to grasp the opportunities presented by this exciting and fast-growing discipline.

“Embracing new technology is a major part of our plans to reform and recover Scotland’s NHS and a co-ordinated approach to this innovation will improve the care provided by our health service.

“Genomic technology is key to that because it will help with the transition to more efficient ways of delivering services, including deployment of staff, skills and equipment. Most importantly, it will support better diagnosis and access to the right treatment by ensuring access to the right tests at the right time. That will ultimately mean people having better outcomes.”