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Genetic Health Service NZ

Organisation

Description

Genetic Health Service NZ is New Zealand’s provider of expert genetic diagnosis and advice. We operate fourteen clinics throughout New Zealand with a staff of clinical geneticists and genetic associates and are part of New Zealand’s public health system.

We provide the following services:

  • Diagnostic assessment of genetic disorders and information about genetic diagnoses
  • Diagnostic, pre-conceptional, prenatal or pre-symptomatic tests for genetic conditions
  • Assistance in the clinical management of genetic diseases and identification of preventable complications by early and accurate diagnosis and surveillance
  • Genetic counselling and management advice for the extended family of affected individuals
  • Telephone enquiry service for doctors, midwives and other health professionals concerning genetic diseases
  • Genetics education for professional and lay groups.

Genetic Health Service NZ is divided into three regional services:

  • The Northern Hub. This service covers the upper half of the North Island. It is based in Auckland and provides outreach clinics in Whangarei, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, and Gisborne
  • The Central Hub. This service covers the lower half of the North Island and Nelson/Marlborough. It is based in Wellington and provides outreach clinics in New Plymouth, Whanganui, Hastings, Palmerston North, Porirua, Lower Hutt, and Nelson
  • The South Island Hub. This service covers all of the South Island except Nelson/Marlborough. It is based in Christchurch and provides outreach clinics in Greymouth, Timaru, Dunedin, Queenstown, and Invercargill.

In this section

Why was I referred?

The main reasons why people are referred to a genetics clinic are:

  • To diagnose a condition
  • To confirm or explain a diagnosis
  • To discuss diagnostic, pre-natal or pre-symptomatic tests for a genetic condition, and reproductive options including pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)
  • To discuss the implications of a family history of a genetic condition
  • To discuss the implications of a family history of cancer.

What happens when we receive your referral?

Appointments are arranged for you after referral from your GP or specialist. You will be triaged to see either a clinical geneticist or a genetic associate depending on the nature of the problem in the family.

You may be seen quite quickly, or you may have to wait some months, depending on waiting lists and urgency at the time of your referral. If you do not live in one of the main centres, then we will see you in the next available clinic in your area. As we may not be visiting your area for several weeks, you have the option to be seen in one of the main centres (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch) if you wish to be seen sooner and are willing to travel.

It is helpful to find out some information about close relatives (illnesses, cause and age of death etc.) before meeting with a genetic service as you will usually be asked about this at your appointment. A family history questionnaire will be sent to you to complete and return before your appointment.

Who will I see?

Medical Geneticists are doctors with specialist training in Medical Genetics. You are likely to see them when a diagnosis has not yet been made.

Genetic Counsellors (also called Genetic Associates) are health professionals qualified to provide genetic counselling and genetic testing where indicated. Genetic counselling is an informative process with professionals who are knowledgeable about genetic conditions and their impact on individuals and their families. Genetic counselling should not be confused with psychological counselling.

What happens at the appointment?

Most genetics appointments last between 45 minutes and an hour. You will be encouraged to ask questions. Please feel welcome to bring relatives/whānau or friends with you to the appointment.

Your appointment may follow this general format:

  • We will discuss your concerns with you.
  • You will be asked for details of your family's medical history and a family tree (whakapapa) will be drawn with your permission.
  • The Medical Geneticist may find it helpful to examine you or your child.
  • Sometimes we need to gather more information or arrange investigations.
  • Based on this information, a diagnosis of a genetic disorder may be made or confirmed.
  • We can discuss the inheritance and implications of the condition for you and your family/whānau.
  • We can provide sources of further information and support.

What do I need to bring?

If we have enclosed a family history questionnaire please complete as much as you can and bring it with you (if you have not already sent it).

Any medical records or family trees would also be helpful.

You are welcome to bring relatives/whanau or friends with you to the appointment.

Sometimes we offer to take blood for testing on the same day as your appointment or we may ask you to further consider whether or not you want a genetic test, perhaps involving your family in your decision-making.

After the clinic

We will write to you, summarising what we have discussed. With your permission, copies are sent to the referring doctor, your GP and other relevant specialists.

Please feel free to contact us:

-If you have further questions or concerns.

-If your address changes.

-If your family history changes-- it may alter the risks or recommendations we have discussed.

Records and confidentiality

Your personal details

To provide an efficient Genetic Service, we will keep some of your details on a hospital electronic database. If you have any concerns about this please let us know.

Confidentiality

The details that you give us will be treated in strict confidence, even within your family.

Contact Details

Genetic Health Service NZ – Northern Hub

Auckland Hospital
Private Bag 92 024
Auckland Mail Centre
Auckland 1142

Ph: (09) 307 4949 Ext. 25870
Toll free: 0800 476 123
E-mail: gensec@adhb.govt.nz

Genetic Health Service NZ – Central Hub

Wellington Hospital
Private Bag 7902
Wellington South

Ph: (04) 385 5310

Toll free: 0508 364 436
E-mail: genetic.services@ccdhb.org.nz

Genetic Health Service NZ – South Island Hub

Christchurch Hospital
Private Bag 4710
Christchurch 8140

Ph: (03) 378 6574
Toll free: 0508 364 436

E-mail: genetic.servicenz@cdhb.health.nz

This page was last updated at 12:21PM on April 10, 2019.