OLCHC implements improvements to Clinical Genetics Department

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Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin implements

improvements to its Department of Clinical Genetics 


26 July 2018

Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin is providing additional resources to support the hospital’s Department of Clinical Genetics to improve services.  An external multi professional team, will assist staff to ensure that the Department of Clinical Genetics deliver an improved service for patients and clinical service users.  

The Department of Clinical Genetics comprises of several divisions; Clinical Genetics, Molecular Genetics and Cytogenetics.  These divisions provide a range of services to adult and paediatric patients.  Several internal and external reports over recent years have focused on the services provided by the Department of Clinical Genetics.  These reports found that there were delays in turnaround times for some genetic laboratory tests and highlighted deficits in departmental clinical, laboratory and operating systems.  These reports also identified concerns with the leadership and clinical governance of the department.  OLCHC apologises to patients and clinical service users for any delays in test results.

On the basis of these reports, and as a result of incidents regarding delays in genetic testing, OLCHC has taken the decision to provide an external team to support the Department of Clinical Genetics in making improvements.  This team is being led by an experienced NHS UK Health Manager who has begun working at the hospital. 

One of these reports, the draft National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) External Review of Cancer Cytogenetics Service, recommended the upgrade of equipment used for cytogenetic testing of multiple myeloma.  Cancer cytogenetic testing plays a key role in determining prognosis and in aiding treatment decisions in a range of haematological malignancies.  It also aids in the diagnosis of a small number of cancers.  OLCHC has commenced recruitment of additional scientific staff and the purchase of equipment in order to comply with this recommendation.  Arrangements are being made for the test to be provided by an accredited genetics service in the UK whilst the new technology is being implemented at OLCHC.  The hospital will work with the NCCP in notifying hospitals about this temporary arrangement. 

Other recommendations in the NCCP Report include the need for the cytogenetics laboratory to achieve INAB accreditation, the need for better communications with the users of cancer cytogenetics services and options for changes in the governance and management of services in the Department of Clinical Genetics.  The external team is working with the staff of the clinical genetics department in implementing all the recommendations of the draft NCCP report as well as other improvements with the department.

If any patient safety issues are identified during the implementation of these improvements, OLCHC will contact patients directly. 

Patients attending the Department of Clinical Genetics at OLCHC who have concerns can contact the hospital on: (01) 409 6739