Clinical Genetics involves the diagnosis and management of genetic disorders affecting individuals and families. The rapid increase in understanding of biological variation and its role in health and disease make it an exciting and expanding specialty. The training programme in clinical genetics is four years as a Specialty Registrar and research experience is actively encouraged. Clinical Genetic services run on a ‘hub and spoke’ principle with central and peripheral counselling services. There is close team working between Consultants, StRs and Genetic Counsellors as well as interaction with Cytogenetic and Molecular Laboratory colleagues.
The excellent training programme consists of a 4 year rotation based in Bristol (St Michael’s Hospital – UHBristol Foundation Trust)
Although trainees are based in Bristol, the service also covers Somerset, Gloucestershire and parts of Wiltshire and time will normally also be spent in each of these satellite units:
- Royal United Hospital, Bath
- Cheltenham General Hospital
- Gloucester Royal Hospital
- Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton
- Yeovil District Hospital
The programme offers excellent training in General Genetics, Cancer Genetics, Paediatric Dysmorphology, Neurodevelopmental Genetics and Prenatal Genetics.
Delivery of Training
Training and teaching is co-ordinated by the 5 Consultants that are based in Bristol (Dr Ruth Newbury-Ecob, Dr Sarah Smithson, Dr Alan Donaldson, Dr Susan Tomkins, Dr Ingrid Scurr).
Normally each trainee spends 9 months with each of 4 consultants and a month in the cytogenetics and molecular laboratories during the first three years of training. During this time, research is encouraged. There is opportunity in the final year to develop research interests or subspecialty interests.
Work is Out-Patient based but trainees participate in the (fully supervised) rota for urgent referrals that includes In-Patients. There is no out of hours commitment although some flexibility is required to accommodate travel to peripheral units.
Teaching / Education
There are numerous educational meetings and teaching sessions including:
- Monthly Fetal Medicine meeting (held jointly with genetic, fetal medicine and fetal pathology teams) which primarily involves case discussion.
- Every 2 months clinical / academic regional meeting (held jointly with clinical genetic, cytogenetic and molecular laboratory teams from Bristol and Exeter) and includes case presentation, case discussion and formal teaching presentation.
- 4 Monthly Supraregional meeting that is hosted in rotation by genetics Centres across the South of England including Bristol, Exeter, Southampton, Oxford, Birmingham and Cardiff. These meetings are held over two days, the first including regional audit and external speakers and the second including specific StR training with teaching from local genetic staff and external speakers.
- 4 Monthly National Dysmorphology Meetings at GOSH at which regular StR attendance and case presentation is expected as part of core training.
The Clinical Genetics Department has close links with many specialties and there are joint/specialist clinics with:
- Orthopaedics - Skeletal Dysplasia
The Clinical Department has close links with the molecular and cytogenetics laboratories that are based in North Bristol. Trainees are encouraged to develop a research interest in the early part of their training and expand upon this throughout their training.
Entry Requirements, Curriculum & Assessment
Please refer to the Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board website.
Currently this is arranged annually for each trainee at one of two 6 monthly supraregional appraisal meetings which are attended by Training Programme Directors from Clinical Genetics Centres across the South of England.
Current Allocation of Training Posts
None at present.
Training Programme Director - Alan Donaldson