Information on Direct to Consumer (DTC) Genomic or Genetic testing

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the British Society for Genetic Medicine (BSGM) recommend that health professionals should exercise caution when asked to offer, or provide, clinical expertise about the results of Direct to Consumer (DTC) genomic or genetic testing. The analytical validity, sensitivity and clinical utility of such testing may be much lower than is popularly perceived.

For certain types of DTC results, there is a very high chance of false positive or false negative results. This means that patients should be offered the NHS care which would otherwise have been offered (e.g., family history and risk assessment, healthy lifestyle advice, or referral to specialist care) regardless of their DTC result.

If a patient wants to discuss a DTC result for which NHS genomic testing is not usually offered (e.g. paternity tests or ancestry information) then they should be signposted to the commercial DTC provider. Such predictions rarely have health implications and therefore do not fall under the auspices of the NHS.

There are significant NHS costs in confirming (or more often refuting) DTC testing results and these are not warranted unless there are clinical indications for testing.

More information can be found on The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) website: