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New clinic in Barnet will allow more convenient genetic testing

As well as the virtue of being in the Jewish community heartland, the new facility will mean that anyone wishing to be tested no longer has to wait for a Jnetics screening session.

    From later this month, those wishing to be screened for Jewish genetic disorders can attend a weekly clinic at Barnet Hospital, thanks to a tie-up with Jnetics.

    As well as the virtue of being in the Jewish community heartland, the new facility will mean that anyone wishing to be tested no longer has to wait for a Jnetics screening session.

    Gael Ganz, a genetic counsellor at Northwick Park Hospital, works regularly with Jnetics. She told the JC that “up until now the main testing service has been an NHS clinic at Guy’s Hospital, which tested for Tay-Sachs. They also offer a private service to test for the nine Jewish genetic disorders.

    “It has been very expensive and quite a distance for many to travel. It seemed kind of ridiculous that we didn’t have anything to offer the community where we are.”

    The plan is for the Thursday half-day clinic to open before Rosh Hashanah.

    “It’s self-referral, you don’t need a GP,” Mrs Ganz explained.

    “You just book an appointment online through the Jnetics website and come to the clinic. The genetic counsellor will be there to meet you and answer your questions. It’s a saliva test, which is much more appealing to many people.” It is the same as the Jnetics screening service and will also cost the same, £190.

    “It’s subsidised by Jnetics,” she said. “Quite a reduction from the Guy’s services [£330]. There are further subsidies available for people who need”.

    She saw the Barnet facility as an “exciting development. Since 2014, Jnetics has screened over 550 people. What we have found from the screening results so far has confirmed all the research.

    “If a couple were both found to be carriers {of a genetic disease], this could have very severe consequences for their children, as they would then have a one-in-four chance of having an affected child.

    “I think all this work has brought to the fore the importance of screening for young Jews who are looking to start a family, because these conditions are preventable.

    “It’s something that Israelis and Americans do routinely and something we’re a little bit behind on. What we’re doing now is increasing awareness in the Jewish community and bringing the level of care available up to par with everywhere else”.

     

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