The role of the GP in genetics

Australian and international studies have highlighted the need for general practitioners to develop genetic literacy and to understand the important role primary care plays in the management of genetic conditions. This includes:

  • taking and using the family history to determine the risks of common diseases such as cancer and heart disease
  • identifying patients with specific genetic conditions who may benefit from referral to genetic counselling or specialist management services
  • pre-pregnancy counselling from a genetic perspective, including discussion of prenatal screening and diagnostic tests for genetic conditions
  • identifying, assessing and, when appropriate, referring children and adults with developmental delay, developmental disability or dysmorphic features for diagnosis and specialist services
  • using genetic tests appropriately, including those listed on the Medicare Benefits Schedule
  • being aware of the growing field of genomics and the use of genetic markers to determine therapeutics
  • discussing newborn screening programs with parents and managing children who test positive
  • supporting families with genetic conditions and co-ordinating their care between clinical genetics services and other clinical specialties.

Ref: “The RACGP Curriculum for Australian General Practice 2016”. 2011. Curriculum.Racgp.Org.Au. http://curriculum.racgp.org.au/statements/genetics/.

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