Guernsey’s first genomic screening programme aims to be the most effective in the world

Queens Road Medical Practice and Wessex Familial Hypercholesterolaemia Service are working in partnership to launch Guernsey’s first genomic screening programme.

The programme, which is supported by Butterfield, the Committee for Health and Social Care and the Health Innovation Charitable Trust, aims to identify and treat people in the Bailiwick with the genetic condition Familial Hypercholesterolaemia (FH).

FH is hereditary and results in high levels of cholesterol which can lead to cardio vascular disease; the leading cause of preventable death in the developed world. If the condition is identified it can be treated with medication and the likelihood of developing the disease is reduced.

Dr Mat Dorrian, a local GP who works at Queens Road Medical Practice, has an MSc in genomic medicine and will lead the programme with support from the team at the Wessex Familial Hypercholesterolaemia Service.

“Our aim is for this to become the most effective FH screening programme in the world,” said Dr Dorrian

“Guernsey’s close-knit population means once individual carriers of the FH gene are identified we can identify their relatives so they can also be tested if they wish.”

“At Queens Road we’re passionate about preventative healthcare. This innovative screening programme will use the latest genetic screening technology and our connected local community to help people in the islands with FH to live healthier lives.”

“My dissertation was a feasibility study on setting up a FH clinic in Guernsey so to have the opportunity to bring it to life is very exciting.”

The programme aims to identify as many FH gene carriers in the Bailiwick as possible in the next three years through a series of free genetic screening clinics. Candidates for the clinics can be referred by their GP and specialists and testing and treatment in the clinic is free.

The FH genomic screening programme was launched at an educational event on Thursday 25 July attended by deputies and representatives from local health and charitable organisations.

Deputy Soulsby said: “We’re really pleased to see this project move forward.  Preventative healthcare is a huge focus for us as we work to transform our wider health services through the Partnership of Purpose programme.”

“By focusing on prevention we can deliver not only better healthcare but also care that offers better value for money.”

Melanie Watson added: “The Wessex Familial Hypercholesterolaemia Service based at University Hospital Southampton is very excited to support this innovative primary care based FH genomic screening programme on Guernsey.”