4475 - Ovarian Cancer: Health Services (Answered)

Ms Margaret Ritchie
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the potential cost and benefits of advanced genetic testing techniques for the clinical assessment and treatment of ovarian cancer; and if he will make a statement.

George Freeman

The Department is directly supporting the adoption of emerging genetic testing techniques through the 100,000 Genomes Project. The initiative includes the analysis of the genomic changes seen in ovarian cancer and how these are related to clinical outcomes.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) clinical guideline on familial breast cancer, published in June 2013, recommends that women with breast or ovarian cancer should be offered genetic testing if their combined BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carrier possibility is 10% or more. NICE clinical guidelines represent best practice and we expect National Health Service organisations in England to take them fully into account in designing services to meet the needs of their local populations. Clinical guidelines are not subject to the same statutory funding regulation as NICE’s technology appraisals.

NHS England advises that moving to routine testing at a 10% risk threshold in England would require a significant capacity and funding investment. This would be for the increase needed in genetic testing and associated counselling.

NHS commissioners are required to give due consideration to NICE's recommendations alongside other pertinent factors in determining a policy on eligibility for NHS funding for these tests.