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Use of genetics in the Dutch health care system; a memorandum from the Dutch Minister of Health, Welfare and Sports to the Dutch Parliament

Use of genetics in the Dutch health care system; a memorandum from the Dutch Minister of Health, Welfare and Sports to the Dutch Parliament

Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Geneeskunde 145(26): 1233-1235

In the memorandum entitled 'The application of genetics in health care', which was sent to the Dutch Parliament in December 2000, the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport responded to four proposals she had received from the Health Council of the Netherlands during the previous three years. These proposals included reports on in vitro fertilisation, DNA diagnostics, clinical genetic testing and genetic counselling, and pharmacogenetics. Legal aspects dominate the section on the consumer's/patient's position: detailed legal guidelines are provided for difficult family-related issues in genetic counselling. For genetic counselling and clinical genetic testing, permission from the Minister of Health is still required. Criteria have been provided for the public funding of these activities in the shorter term. Clinical geneticists have been asked to develop guidelines for a number of clinical situations, which include predictive genetic testing and genetic testing in children. Moreover both medical and laboratory professionals have already initiated a number of self-regulatory measures. The Minister has adopted most of the proposals received, which means that for the foreseeable future, there is a clearly regulated framework for the responsible use of genetics within the Dutch healthcare system.

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