Lord Willis of Knaresborough and Prof Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Chief Nurse and Interim Regional Director for London and the South East at Health Education England, visited the Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM) on October 11, to see the work of the West Midlands Genomic Medicine Centre (WMGMC).

Lord Willis chairs the Health Education England Genomics Education Programme nursing and midwifery roundtable, which has discussed ways to embed genomics within nursing and midwifery professions.

Lord Willis and Prof Bayliss-Pratt, who were joined by members of the Genomics Education Programme at Health Education England, were keen to visit a genomic medicine centre to see how nurses and midwives were supported to understand the impact of genomics on their roles.

The WM GMC team showcased the range of work being developed and undertaken in the region, including the development of data and information sharing pathways to improve the quality and management of patient care and the use of genomic data to improve the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

The ITM is a world-class clinical research facility, led by Birmingham Health Partners, a partnership between the University of Birmingham (UoB) and three major teaching hospitals; University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) and Birmingham Women and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust (BWC).

Lord Willis commented: “I was hugely impressed with the progress being made at the WM GMC towards making the use of genomic data a vital tool in the identification and ultimately the treatment of a variety of serious conditions.”

“It is rare to find a group of colleagues from such a range of backgrounds and disciplines working with such common purpose and with such effect.”

Lord Willis and Prof Bayliss-Pratt also visited the Centre for Rare Diseases clinic, situated on the ground floor of the ITM, where they spoke to a patient visiting the clinic with his wife.

Lord Willis also met with members of the multidisciplinary clinical staff including Dr Will Bradlow, Consultant Cardiologist and Rachel Hornabrook, Genomics Project Nurse Manager.

Charlotte Hitchcock, one of three West Midlands Genomics Ambassadors for the 100,000 Genomes Project, gave a talk on the crucial work the Genomics Ambassadors do in raising awareness of and recruiting patients for the project.

A presentation on Combining Fetal and Genomics Medicine was given by Elizabeth Quinlan-Jones, Specialist Midwife in Fetal and Genomic Medicine.

Hilary Fanning, Director of Research Development and Innovation at UHB, said: “It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to share the wide range of clinical service transformation activities taking place in the West Midlands, supported by the WM GMC.”

“It was also great to share our thoughts on workforce development required to support emergent changes in healthcare delivery.”

The West Midlands Genomic Medicine Centre, a collaboration of 18 NHS Trusts which is delivering the 100,000 Genomes Project across the region and is led by University Hospitals Birmingham, which runs QEHB.

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