WM Genomic Medicine Centre (GMC) - Education and Training

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Case Study Summary
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Overview summary:
The West Midlands GMC (WMGMC) is the largest GMC, working with all 18 acute trusts in the region to underpin the delivery of the project. The WMGMC Education Team has developed a suite of educational programmes to ensure the region’s current and future workforce is equipped to understand how genomics medicine might impact on their role.
Challenge identified and actions taken :
The WMGMC Education Team has developed a suite of educational programmes to ensure the region’s current and future workforce is equipped to understand how genomics medicine might impact on their role.
  • Developing and delivering consent training for healthcare staff across the region
  • The development of National Consent and Recruitment ‘Train the Trainer’ days for staff from all GMCs, using a blended learning approach Partnership working with the University of Birmingham, which offers an MSc in Genomic Medicine and associated Continuing Professional Development (CPD) modules
  • Delivering a Genomics Access Course to provide intermediate genomics training and support applications to the MSc in Genomic Medicine
  • Providing work experience opportunities in genetic counselling and genomics for GCSE and A-level students, in partnership with HealthTec
  • Contributing to the development of Advanced Clinical Practitioner roles in genomics
  • Working closely with the Genomics Ambassadors to promote education and training across the 18 trusts
  • Engaging with primary care.
  • Developing a system-wide training needs analysis in line with national requirements
Impacts / outcomes:
The immediate training priority for the West Midlands was to train sufficient numbers of health care professionals, with some existing genetics knowledge, to recruit and consent patients across a number of local delivery partners (LDPs) in line with the phased roll out of the 100,000 Genomes project. A further learning need was identified whilst working with the University of Birmingham (UoB), the local provider of the MSc in Genomic Medicine; non-medical health care professionals were dissuaded from applying for both CPD modules and the MSc due to insufficient knowledge in basic genetics science.

The West Midlands working with UoB developed an Access Course designed to educate non –medical healthcare professionals who had little knowledge of genetics or genomics and to support them in successfully meeting the entry requirements for the MSc in Genomics. Other courses provided by the WMGMC included an interactive one-day recruitment and consent programme as well as a blended E-Learning Consent course which built on work from Health Education England (HEE).
A national consent training day was also organised to allow for additional training alongside the blended learning package.

The Recruitment and Consent course delivered both centrally and through blended learning has been hugely effective. Locally it enabled individual clinics across 18 LDPs to meet recruitment targets across cancer and rare diseases. Furthermore, these genomics training events are thought to have contributed to interest in and attendance on CPD modules as well as the full MSc in Genomic Medicine at the UoB.

The phased roll out of the 100,000 Genomes Project has also been assisted by the three Genomic Ambassadors. As part of a focus on precision medicine the AHSN sought to fund these 3 innovative posts known as Genomic Ambassadors. In the early days the role largely comprised of engagement of various healthcare professionals, coordinating teams ahead of going live to recruitment as well as training staff to consent patients. The genomics ambassadors regularly take part in regional and national events to raise awareness for not only the 100,000 Genomes Project but also personalised medicine, an important aspect which has also developed their ability to educate groups of people including nurses, scientists and students.

As well as events focussed on workforce training the Education Team have helped with activities to ensure the future workforce is aware of genomics. This includes enabling work experience opportunities for school, college and university students ensuring the next generation of scientists, nurses and doctors receive vital experience within the genomics and genetics field.

The WMGMC has also worked closely with the national Genomics Education Programme team to ensure national requests are fulfilled. This has included producing a training needs analysis questionnaire to highlight the needs of different staff groups. Each GMC was asked to produce a questionnaire suited to their workforce with the focus of the WMGMC being Healthcare scientists. From this a national report is to be produced which will hopefully influence training and education opportunities in genomics that will be available in the future.
Supporting quote for the innovation from key stakeholders:
“I don’t want it to end, I don’t want to stop learning” ~ Genomics Access Course Participant

‘We certainly enjoying running the course and were excited to be able to share our insights into Genomics and the impact of the 100,000 Genomes project to healthcare both now and in the future. We were pleased meet so many of our colleagues working in and around genomics in the West Midlands and be able to inspire and enthuse them to put their new found knowledge into practice.’

Laura Boyes, Lead Consultant Genetic Counsellor
Which local or national clinical or policy priorities does this innovation address:
The 100,000 Genomes Project is a national initiative. To help deliver this project Genomics England was established. Two of the four main aims of Genomics England are to bring benefit to patients and set up a genomic medicine service for the NHS and kick start the development of a UK genomics industry. These points in particular highlight the importance of the Genomics Education Programme and the need for the workforce to receive the relevant training and education.
Plans for the future:
Education in the West Midlands Genomic Medicine Centre continues to be vital. With the return of results from the 100,000 Genomes Project staff will need to be trained to effectively inform patients about the outcome of their genetic testing. Currently the hope is for members of Multi-Disciplinary Teams and leads of the soon to be established Tumour Boards to receive two days of training with the opportunity for further half days of training which will delve into more advanced content.

As well as this the Education Team have recently been successful with a bid to HEE for the development of an interactive education and training tool around Genomics aimed at supporting higher education institutes to deliver high quality education to their undergraduates. This will start initially with undergraduate nurses and medical students but will be expanded to support other programmes. The programme will be `train the trainer` style to expand the knowledge base of genomics across undergraduate teachers.
Tips for adoption:
Identify and plan for both immediate and longer term needs with the right stakeholders to ensure that the training offered is delivered at the relevant time and has the right buy in.

Classroom based training in this instance has needed to be followed up to ensure course participants have the confidence to practice. Having on the ground ‘ambassador roles’ has enabled the right level of support to be given locally following formal training and which has been essential.

Good Planning!
Contact for further information:
Kirsten Chalk
Education and Engagement Project Officer
2nd Floor Open Plan Office
Institute of Translational Medicine
Heritage Building, QEHB
Mindelsohn Way
B15 2TH

0121 371 8161
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