Genetic Counselling as a Developing Healthcare Profession: A Case Study in the Queensland Context
Kromberg, JGR and Parkes, J and Taylor, SD, Genetic Counselling as a Developing Healthcare Profession: A Case Study in the Queensland Context, Australian Journal of Primary Health, 12, (1) pp. 33-39. ISSN 1448-7527 (2006) [Refereed Article]
Given a dearth of empirical and baseline data regarding genetic counselling in Australia, this study examined genetic counselling services in Queensland from January 1998 to December 1999. Secondary analysis was conducted with data from the Queensland Clinical Genetics Service (QCGS). During the study period, 8007 clients were seen in 4817 counselling sessions in urban and regional settings, with general practitioners (GPs) constituting the second largest referral source of clients. Genetic counsellors contributed to 80% of clinical genetic sessions as sole and co-counsellors, and counselled across 79 different disorders. Prenatal diagnosis counselling constituted the greatest workload with demands for cancer counselling increasing. Counsellors also provided educational and information services to individuals, families, general practitioners, health professionals and the community. The ratio of counsellors per head of population was less than national recommendations. Thus, although the existing model of genetic service delivery in Queensland demonstrates accessibility, the service in general is underutilised. As developments in genetic technology continue, this profession is expected to grow further and has the potential to contribute to service delivery at the primary health care level.
Genetic counselling, Queensland, Primary health care