The information general practitioners needs to access cancer genetic services appropriately: Do the cancer genetic services currently provide it?

Davies, Sally H.; Pugsley, L.; Iredale, R.; Gray, J.
September 2003
Journal of Medical Genetics;Sep2003 Supplement, Vol. 40, pS48
Academic Journal
Rapid developments in genetic understanding and molecular techniques have led to increased public awareness of inherited susceptibility to common disorders especially cancer. With the advent of genetic testing, general practitioners have become the 'gatekeeper' to specialist cancer genetic services within the National Health Service. 1. A qualitative study was carried out to determine the educational needs of general practitioners to assess risk and deliver information about inherited predisposition to cancer. Three focus groups were held with general practitioners in different geographical areas of Wales. 2. A documentary analysis of information provided for general practitioners by the Regional Cancer Genetic Centres in the United Kingdom was undertaken. The general practitioners had anxieties about family history taking, assessing risk and referral to the Cancer Genetics Service for Wales. They identified information that they needed for the 'gatekeeper role' and identified their learning needs and preferences. Their needs reflected their generalist role as primary caret for the patient. The documentary analysis utilised the information identified by the practitioners. A fundamental mismatch was identified between the information needs of GPs and the information provided by the Regional Cancer Genetic Centres. The findings emphasise the importance of assessing learning needs to provide an educational strategy that is effective, relevant and based on the general practitioners' experience.


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