Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport
New genetic and genomic technologies are allowing us to develop a much more detailed understanding of the link between our genes and health. In recent years there has been international recognition that these technologies have the potential to revolutionise medicine and public health.
In March last year, the Welsh Government published a Statement of Intent for Genomics and Precision Medicine, which set out the case for the development of a wider Strategy to capture the health and economic benefits of genomics for Wales.
Today, I am pleased to announce a new Genomics for Precision Medicine Strategy, built on the principles outlined in the Statement of Intent, and supported by £6.8m funding.
The Genomics for Precision Medicine Strategy has been developed by a Welsh Government-led genomics taskforce, working in a co-productive manner with the key stakeholders from academia, industry, the third sector, the NHS and the public. A series of workshops and meetings across Wales have played a critical role in informing and underpinning the development of the Strategy.
The Strategy outlines the key initial actions, as part of a 5-10 year plan, that will:
- Develop internationally-recognised medical and public health genomics services in Wales – that are innovative, responsive and well-connected to the major genetics and genomics initiatives that are evolving worldwide.
- Develop internationally-recognised research in genomics and excellent platforms for precision medicine, with All-Wales leadership and coordination and strong links to clinical genetics.
- Be outward-looking, and actively seek out partnerships that can strengthen genomics and precision medicine services and research in Wales, with a focus on those partnerships that will bring the biggest benefits for patients.
- Develop the NHS and research workforce in Wales, in recognition that this investment will have the biggest impact on our ability to realise the potential of genomics and precision medicine for patient benefit.
By outlining the initial steps necessary to develop a genomics for precision medicine infrastructure, the strategy lays the foundations for the routine application of genomic technologies to support precision medicine approaches in Wales. In doing this, it enables patients and the public of Wales to benefit from better healthcare and underpins a bright future for the application of cutting-edge genomic technologies in NHS Wales.
The Genomics for Precision Medicine Strategy is open for consultation and will run until 24 May 2017.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep members informed. Should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.