Hospital to boost genetic testing for newborn babies

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One of the UK's largest women's hospitals is to increase its ability to genetically test newborn babies 12-fold.

Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust will be able to screen all infants for inherited conditions or illnesses and plan for early treatment as part of a major new IT project.

It will also contribute to a major population health programme in Liverpool analysing genetic information by location, identifying and enabling work to prevent localised health issues.

IT firm Novosco will introduce the computing system.

Alder Hey Hospital
IT firm Novosco will introduce the computing system at Alder Hey Hospital (Peter Byrne)

Novosco managing director Patrick McAliskey said: "We are delighted to secure this contract which will enable the trust to take genetic testing to the next level and play an important role in the identification and prevention of conditions and illnesses in new-born babies and the wider population."

This role of genetics in healthcare is one of the most rapidly expanding areas of development for Liverpool Women's.

It provides a regional clinical genetics service based at Alder Hey Hospital, covering a population of around 2.8 million people from across Merseyside, Cheshire and the Isle of Man, chief executive Kathryn Thomson posted on the trust's website.

She added: "To discover that you or any child you have or plan to have may be at risk of a genetic disorder which could cause disability or a rare condition is traumatic.

A mother holds her baby
The unit covers a population of around 2.8 million people from across Merseyside, Cheshire and the Isle of Man (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

"People are sometimes shocked and anxious and wonder what the future might hold.

"They need as much information and support as possible to help them cope. That is why the often unsung work of our clinical genetics team is so important, providing diagnosis and supporting families when they need it most."

Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust specialises in the health of women and their babies - both within the hospital and in the community. It is one of only two such specialist trusts in the UK - and the largest women's hospital of its kind.

Novosco is an IT infrastructure and managed cloud computing company and employs over 150 people. It has its headquarters in Belfast, with offices in Manchester, Dublin, and Cork.