The COAG Health Council agreed Australia’s first National Health Genomics Policy Framework in November 2017.
The focus of the National Health Genomics Policy Framework (the Framework) for 2018-21 is genomic testing to prevent, diagnose, treat or monitor disease. Genomic testing involves analysis of a person’s DNA to provide information about a person’s genes and chromosomes. This information can be used to better understand the biology of human disease.
The Framework will harness the health benefits of genomic knowledge and technology into the Australian health system in an efficient, effective, ethical and equitable way to improve individual and population health. The Framework will achieve this by providing a consistent structure that will support the integration of genomics into the Australian health system, coordinating action across all jurisdictions in five Strategic Priority Areas:
- Person-centred approach: delivering high quality care for people through a person-centred approach to integrating genomics into health care;
- Workforce: building a skilled workforce that is literate in genomics;
- Financing: ensuring sustainable and strategic investment in cost-effective genomics;
- Services: maximising quality, safety and clinical utility of genomics in health care; and
- Data: responsible collection, storage, use and management of genomic data.
The Framework has been informed by extensive national public and targeted stakeholder consultation. It is directed at decision and policy makers at the national, state and health service levels. It will also be a useful resource for the non-government sector, stakeholder organisations, industry and communities.
The Framework should be read in conjunction with the Supplementary Information to the National Health Genomics Policy Framework, which provides additional information about why the strategic areas for action identified in the Framework are considered to be a priority and further background information for those readers who are less familiar with genomics.
Development of the Framework was led by the Commonwealth, in partnership with the states and territories, at the direction of the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC). It will be supported by a joint Commonwealth, state and territory Implementation Plan. The Commonwealth is currently developing the Implementation Plan with input from a jurisdictional Project Reference Group under the auspice of AHMAC’s Clinical Principal Committee.
The agreed National Health Genomics Policy Framework and Supplementary Material are available from the COAG Health Council website.