Who knows what in rare disease? Engagement, information and communication

As part of the work on the NI Rare Disease Plan, NIRDP has been running a series of Workshops across Northern Ireland, and an Online Survey, to identify information needs in relation to rare disease issues; what information is currently available and what information people would like to help them live or work with rare conditions.

On 7 June, a workshop chaired by Professor Ian Young, the Chief Scientific Officer and Chair of the NI Rare Disease Implementation Group,  heard about progress in genetics, presented by Dr Tabib Dabir, Clinical Lead, NI Regional Medical Genetics Service (and member of NIRDP’s Board)  and in metabolics, presented by Dr Clodagh Loughrey, Consultant Chemical Pathologist and Clinical Director Laboratories, BHSCT.

It’s clear from these presentations that the pathway to diagnosis, and the options available for management and treatment of complex and rare conditions, will soon alter dramatically.  Indeed some changes are already happening, with an individual’s genetic make up helping to determine the best course of treatment in some cases. It’s essential that we think through how to make best use of these advances!

Participants then considered the emerging findings from the Workshops and the Survey, presented by Dr Jane Miller, Research Fellow at the NI Genomic Medicine Centre  and NIRDP Chair Fiona McLaughlin, before working in five groups to validate and  consider how progress could be made on the key areas identified in the Workshops and in the Survey.

Suggestions for improving information and communications

  • Develop care pathways / flow charts / support plans / signposting.
  • Have one ‘go to person’ who co-ordinates care and information sharing between those involved in care:  “Care navigators” to support patients, families, and clinicians.
  • Develop a hub / portal for accessing information for medics, other professionals and people with a rare condition/disease.
  • Develop referral routes to support groups, or to other people with the same condition, from the point of diagnosis.
  • Look and take learning from other models e.g. Cancer Care; Maternity Care (where mothers hold information in The Red Book) Downs Syndrome etc.

There were many valuable suggestions, and much learning across the whole group- for example, about the proposed introduction of the SNOMED coding system across both primary and secondary care; and planned technological developments within Health & Social Care.  Also, locally based training for patients, along the lines of the EUPATI modules some of our members are already familiar with, is hopefully to become available.

We are still processing all the information that emerged; and planning follow up through a virtual working group to take forward the ideas in more detail.

Further details to follow- watch this space!

And if you haven’t already done so, please complete the Survey and get your family and health care colleagues to do so too …

Collagen – Why Do We Need It?

With support from the Research and Development Division of the Public Health Agency, and in collaboration with the Regional Medical Genetics Service and QUAMS, we are bringing  two external, internationally recognised experts on Connective Tissue disorders and translational genomic medicine, to join with our local experts in a “mini Symposium”, chaired by Professor Patrick Morrison, on connective tissue disorders.

The expert speakers are:

Professor Dianna M. Milewicz, M.D., Ph.D. President George H.W. Bush Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine Director of the Division of Medical Genetics Professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, TX

Professor William Newman, MA FRCP PhD Professor of Translational Genomic Medicine Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine St Mary’s Hospital Manchester

Dr V McConnell, MD, MRCGP, DRCOG, PGCCE, Clinical Lead, Regional Medical Genetics Service, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

Dr A Pendleton, FRCP (Ed), FRCP (I), FBASM, Consultant Rheumatologist,  Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

Our aim is to raise awareness of collagen disorders, and provide information on how to understand the diagnosis, and the appropriate treatment and management of these conditions, which from the relatively mild to the life threatening.

The event will provide a focus for patients and carers to improve their knowledge and understanding, and enable them to participate from an informed basis in their care, and in appropriate self-management strategies.

It will add to the knowledge base of clinicians and other health professionals and scientists by providing a world class up to date information and evidence session: and it will enable medical students to learn from internationally renowned experts not normally available in Northern Ireland.

CPD accreditation (2 external clinical CPD Points from the Royal College of Physicians) has been obtained for the event: Registration is required for Certification.

Please Click Here to Register Now!

Where?
Lecture Theatre, Medical Biology Centre, Queen’s University Belfast, Lisburn Road, Belfast

When?
18.00 to 21.00, 24 March 2015

Genetics and Popular Science

The School of Biological Sciences cordially invites you to attend the RAE Armstrong Public Lecture Series 2014 which will be given by Dr David Timson, Reader in Biochemistry, School of Biological Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast.

Details are as follows:

Date: 12 November 2014
Time: 4pm
Venue: Medical Biology Centre Lecture Theatre 1
Lecture Title: When genes go wrong

Date: 26 November 2014
Time: 4pm
Venue: Medical Biology Centre Lecture Theatre 1
Lecture Title: Treating the “untreatable”: new ways to treat genetic diseases

Date: 3 December 2014
Time: 4pm
Venue: Medical Biology Centre Lecture Theatre 1
Lecture Title: We’re all mutants

These lectures are aimed for the informed general public and academics and are also ideal for A-Level students in Biology, especially those hoping to do Medicine, Pharmacy or Biomedical Sciences.

Refreshments will be served afterwards from 5:00pm on the days of the lectures. In order to assist with catering arrangements, please confirm via email (m.mervyn@qub.ac.uk if you wish to attend.