Health Education England (HEE) has announced the extension of an online tool, which helps clinicians make genomics decisions for patients, to practice pharmacists.

HEE said the GeNotes tool, which provides educational information which can be accessed during patient consultations along with links to bite-sized further learning, has already been tested by oncology and paediatrics staff, receiving a 90% usability score so far and ‘high praise from clinicians’.

It has now invited practice pharmacists, GPs, physician associates and advanced nurse practitioners in primary care to try out the tool, working through a patient scenario, and give their feedback via an online survey. The results will be used to improve the final project, it added.

GeNotes has been developed by HEE’s Genomics Education Programme in collaboration with clinical experts across the NHS.

Dr Jude Hayward, primary care adviser to HEE’s Genomics Education Programme, said that GeNotes will be ‘a vital resource for primary care’.

She added: ‘As genomic testing continues to be embedded within clinical care, particularly in rare disease and cancer, our primary care colleagues need quick access to concise, focused information about referral routes and clinical management.’

‘In developing GeNotes, we have fine-tuned the resources to offer just the information a busy clinician needs at the point of patient care. Our user research is an important component to help us make further improvements before we roll out the service more widely across primary care.’

Pharmacogenomics testing, which uses a patient’s genetic profile to analyse how they will respond to a certain drug, is already used for a small number of medicines in the UK, and is used across the NHS for cancer and rare and infectious diseases.

In April, a report by the British Pharmacological Society and Royal College of Physicians called for genomic testing to be offered more widely across the NHS.

It said that there was evidence that a patient’s genetic profile can account for a varied response to many commonly prescribed medications, including painkillers, beta-blockers, and anti-depressants.

In May, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) called for pharmacists to play a central role in the development of genomics across the NHS, and in September the RPS in Wales proposed medicines-related genomic awareness training for community pharmacy teams.

Genomics e-learning modules for pharmacists are available through the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE).