The history of genetics and genomics policy in Britain
A Westminster reception discussed lessons from new historical policy research
The evolution of genomics policy in Britain was the topic up for discussion at the PHG Foundation hosted reception in London.
Making Genetics and Genomics Policy in Britain: From Personal to Population Health, by Philip Begley and Sally Sheard and published by Routledge is the result of independent research supported by the PHG Foundation.
Prof Sheard, a distinguished health policy analyst and historian who led the research, outlined for attendees the research process undertaken to reveal the history of genetics and genomics policy, which relied heavily on oral histories and witness seminars. Besides highlighting important historical milestones in the development of genomics policy, key points of note included that:
- Individual policy ‘gatekeepers’ play a critical role in driving the development of policy to support the application of science into healthcare, including in genomics
- Political champions are also vital to furthering the development and implementation of new areas of science
- Considering the wider issues posed by health applications of genomics has always been important, and effective public engagement will continue to be crucial
Prof Sally Sheard
Prof Sir Munir Pirmohamed
In the discussion that followed, Prof Sir Munir Pirmohamed spoke to the future of genomics, emphasising the need for ongoing genomics education for health professionals; embedding equitable access to useful genomic services across the NHS for all patients who can benefit; and ensuring that genomics research, development and commercialisation for national economic as well as health benefits are all strongly supported.
To learn more about the PHG Foundation’s work in bringing genomics into the policy arena see Our history.
Read our related blog: Revealing the history of genetics and genomics policy in Britain