GPs are going to have to cope with genetics cases

As a newly qualified GP with an interest in genetics, I was interested to read the article on genetics (GP, 14 March).

The writers offered a case study in the dilemma of giving genetic information to potentially affected family members.

As more genetic mutations are discovered, these dilemmas will become more of an issue for GPs and it is helpful to have some understanding of the implications and our duty of care.

In this case study, Erica agreed for her estranged sister to be notified of the genetic test results but what could have been done had she not agreed?

Given Eve shares the same pedigree and, prior to testing, was at the same risk of inheriting the altered BRCA1 gene as Erica, she could have been referred for genetic counselling on that basis without her being informed of Erica's genetic status and therefore maintaining confidentiality.

My aim is to provide a genetics service in primary care and I believe that there are aspects of genetic counselling that could be provided in primary care without the added anxiety for patients of being referred to a tertiary centre.

This service would need to run in co-operation with the genetic specialists but would I hope reduce the pressure on genetics departments.

I eagerly await the results of the DoH project based on the White Paper 'Our Inheritance, Our Future'.

Dr Kate Baker, Cwmbran, Gwent.

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