Using genetics to improve health outcomes

Scotland’s first genomic medicine strategy will focus on cancer and rare conditions.

A new strategy will expand access to genomic testing to improve diagnoses and outcomes for patients.

With a focus on cancer and rare and inherited conditions, the new five-year strategy sets out how genomics – the use of genetic information to diagnose disease and guide treatment – can be best used in the NHS. For instance healthcare professionals can make more tailored decisions when treating most cancers as some people respond better to some treatments than others because of their genetic make-up.

As a rapidly developing discipline, genomic medicine can be used to diagnose and treat disease more effectively. Already widely used by NHS boards, this is the first strategy to co-ordinate the approach across Scotland.

The strategy aims to:

  • ensure timely access to the right test at the right time, so people can get quicker treatment
  • improve clinical pathways, to ensure better experiences for patients and more joined-up services
  • support staff with training, clear career paths and opportunities for development

Health Secretary Neil Gray said:

“This new strategy marks the first step towards developing a world class genomic medicine service in Scotland that is agile enough to grasp the opportunities presented by this exciting and fast-growing discipline.

“Embracing new technology is a major part of our plans to reform and recover Scotland’s NHS and a co-ordinated approach to this innovation will improve the care provided by our health service.

“Genomic technology is key to that because it will help with the transition to more efficient ways of delivering services, including deployment of staff, skills and equipment. Most importantly, it will support better diagnosis and access to the right treatment by ensuring access to the right tests at the right time. That will ultimately mean people having better outcomes.”

Scotland's Genomic Medicine Strategy 2024-2029 - (


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