This page is designed to help patients who have been referred to the Clinical Genetics Department, or patients who would like to find out about genetic counselling.
1. How do I find the Clinical Genetics Department?
Clinical Genetics, including Willink Biochemical Genetics, is on the 6th floor of the hospital. The main entrance is through Saint Mary’s Hospital, although some patients come through the Children’s Hospital.
On entering Saint Mary’s Hospital, come to the Main corridor along the back of the hospital and turn right towards the “white rabbit”. You will find the lifts just off the corridor. Come to the 6th floor.
From the Children's Hospital main entrance, go straight on until you reach the fish tank near the restaurant. Turn right, go past the first set of lifts and use the second set of lifts (on your left) to go the 6th floor.
Follow signs to patient reception on the 6th floor.
2. What is Genetic Counselling?Find out more about
4. Why have I been referred?
People may be referred because:
A condition runs in your family or your partner’s family
You or your partner already have a child with a physical or developmental problem
You or your partner have a condition that might be passed on to your children
You or your partner have experienced problems with pregnancy loss
Particular types of cancer have occurred in several close relatives
5. What happens when I am referred?
Below is a list of titles about various stages in your referral. When clicked on each title will reveal more information about each stage.
• We hold clinics at Saint Mary's Hospital and out reach clinics at district hospitals in the North West region. Please check your appointment letter. Your partner or another relative or friend is welcome to come with you.
• If another member of your family has been seen in our clinic, please let us know their name, date of birth, and Genetic Clinic file number if known before your appointment.
• 30-45 minutes have been allocated for your appointment. If you do not attend, other patients waiting for appointments could have been seen instead. If you are not able to attend the clinic please ring us immediately so we can allocate your appointment to another patient.
• If you need an interpreter or any type of communication support, please let us know before your appointment.
Family history details
To give you the most accurate information in clinic, we will need to ask you for details of your family history and to draw your family tree. Please come to your appointment with as much of the following information you can gather in advance. However, don’t worry if the information available to you is limited; you should still attend your appointment.
For as many close relatives as possible and other affected family people in your family:Their full nameTheir date of birthTheir address
The diagnosis they were given
When and where they were diagnosed or treated
We will not ask for any medical records for any relative without their permission. We will also not contact any of your relatives unless you specifically ask us to do so.
Some people referred to the genetic clinic are unsure of what to expect. People are referred for many different reasons, usually if they or their child or someone in their family has a genetic condition or a condition which might be genetic. The appointment may lead to a diagnosis or confirmation of a diagnosis, provide information about the condition and any treatment options, give information about how the condition is inherited including the chances for family members, discussion around genetic testing, and guidance and support.
- You will be seen by a clinical geneticist (doctor specialising in genetics), specialist metabolic doctor, nurse or a genetic counsellor, or both, depending upon the reason you have been referred.
- In the appointment we will discuss your questions and any concerns, and go through your family history details with you.
- The doctor may want to examine you / your child if this is necessary.
- We may need to gather more information and/or arrange tests.
- When there is a genetic condition in you or your family, we will try and help you understand the facts in a clear way. Although genetics can sometimes seem complicated we are used to explaining information in a way that people can understand.
- If a genetic or metabolic condition is diagnosed in you or your child, we will talk about any treatments if they are available and arrange the appropriate follow-up and support.
- There may be choices available to you including genetic testing and we will discuss these with you to help you decide what choices you wish to make.
- To allow plenty of time for all of this, each clinic appointment is at least half an hour.
Our department is involved in many aspects of research and you may be invited to take part in research projects if you are eligible. It is entirely up to you if you want to participate in research and it will not affect your care in any way.
As a teaching hospital, we sometimes have medical or genetic counselling students observing our clinics. This is valuable teaching for them and you will be asked before the student sits in the clinic. You are very welcome to let us know if you would prefer not to have a student present. Your decision would not affect your care in any way. There would never be more than one person observing a clinic.
• You will receive a letter written by the doctor or genetic counsellor summarising what has been discussed in the clinic. Your GP and any specialists that you see will normally be sent a copy of this letter.
• You may be offered a follow-up appointment.
• You will be given a telephone number to contact the genetic counsellor, doctor or nurse with any further questions or concerns.
• Some patients will continue to have follow-up contact with us for several years where necessary for them and their family. For some particular genetic conditions, this includes the Genetic Family Register Service, and if this is relevant to you, it will be discussed in the clinic.
If you wish to make a comment, have a concern or want to complain, it is best in the first instance to speak to the manager of the ward or department involved. The Trust has a Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) who can be contacted on (0161) 276 8686 and via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. They will help you if you have a concern, want advice or wish to make a comment or complaint. Information leaflets about the service are readily available throughout the Trust. Please ask any member of staff for a copy.
If you are not able to come to your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can rearrange the appointment. It is very important that you let us know as soon as possible so that we can offer the appointment to someone else. Please contact the number on the top of your appointment letter.