Call to target adult Down's patients

GPs have been challenged to take on the long-term health surveillance and treatment of adults with common genetic disorders such as Down's syndrome.

Research shows that the needs of adults with long-term genetic conditions go unmet despite high levels of clinical need.

'These are a common overlooked group. Many genetic diseases can be managed in primary care,' said Dr Paul Brennan, consultant in clinical genetics at the Northern Genetics Service.

Addressing the launch meeting of the Primary Care Genetics Society in London last week, Dr Brennan said that predicted life expectancy for adults with Down's syndrome is now 60 years. The number of over-50s with the syndrome is expected to triple between 1990 and 2010.

He said that GPs and practice nurses have the basic skills to develop care pathways for adults with 'this common, simple disease'.

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