At Genomics England, we continue to carefully monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation as it rapidly evolves. Our immediate priorities are to protect and support the health and well-being of our staff, and the professional and social communities with whom we work, whilst continuing to work with our partners at NHS England, as well as those in government, industry, medicine and academia, to accelerate genomic research and healthcare.
In response to government advice, we are working proactively to reduce the spread of the virus. On Tuesday 17th March 2020, we asked all of our staff to work remotely. Our offices are now all closed, with the exception of Dawson Hall, which remains accessible for the time being for urgent issues, such as IT hardware services or essential small meetings. We are enormously proud of our staff, who have adapted incredibly quickly to this new way of working, using technology such as Microsoft Teams and Slack to keep in touch, and finding innovative ways to keep in touch such as ‘virtual coffee breaks’ and ‘walk and talk’ sessions (combining some fresh air with a daily team call). Everybody’s positive attitude and determination has been truly inspiring.
We are very proud to be playing an important role in the ecosystem that is responding to the immediate threat. Some of our team are likely to be called back to front-line care within the NHS, and others are supporting research efforts to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, the risks that COVID-19 is currently presenting. This virus clearly poses additional risks to many of the people who we are striving to help, not only in terms of physical health, but also as a result of reduced access to care, or isolation. We are committed to doing everything that we can to support our participants, and those who are receiving care through the NHS Genomic Medicine Service. We will be exploring new and innovative ways to support these communities during these challenging times.
People remain at the centre of everything that we do, and that includes our response to COVID-19. Our thoughts are with everybody who has been affected by this outbreak – patients and their loved ones – and also, the many thousands of remarkable people who are selflessly working around the clock, on the front-line of healthcare, government and research, to support patients and bring the pandemic under control.
At Genomics England, we take our responsibility to the communities we serve very seriously and will continue to do all we can to contribute to the national and international efforts to support those who most need our help.