NHS to offer free DNA testing to patients in England

The NHS, the UK’s public health service, is to begin offering free DNA tests to people in England with serious health conditions in a bid to advance understanding of illnesses and hopefully discover new treatments. 

The service will be part of routine care programmes for adults and children with serious genetic conditions including cancer and will come into force later this year. 

Collected genomes will be sequenced, allowing the NHS to move closer to developing life-saving treatments. 

The scheme will also offer healthy people the option of paying for the service to find out their risk of developing various conditions. 

These people will also have their DNA analysed by NHS scientists in return for allowing it to be kept to help in the development of medical treatments. 

UK health secretary Matthew Hancock said, “While healthy people should not have this service free on the NHS, there are huge benefits to sequencing as many genomes as we can – every genome sequenced moves us a step closer to unlocking life-saving treatments. Genomics has the potential to transform healthcare and I’m really proud that the UK is leading the world.”

The potential of DNA analysis to hyper-personalise nutrition was billed as one of the Global Wellness Summit trends for 2019