“My greatest hope is that GIRFT will provide support and impetus for all those involved in pathology to work shoulder to shoulder and continue making a real difference in patients’ lives, while ensuring that the service is ready and resilient to face the challenges and fascinating opportunities to come”.
– Professor Tim Briggs CBE.
The Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) Programme National Speciality Report for Pathology released in September 2021 highlights the importance of EQA participation and utilising the data it generates to improve lab quality.
The report states that they believe more use can be made of data from EQA schemes to improve quality assurance in labs and across networks. It proposes that information about differences between lab and manufacturer methodologies is of significant value, as it enables wider comparison and discussions, and the report suggests this should be shared more widely in order to contribute to discussions at a national level. The report recommends that EQA data can be used to ensure methodologies are of an acceptable quality and even used to set standards that manufacturers must meet to be deemed fit for purpose.
The report proposes that EQA schemes are more open with information, and labs within the UK should work with the RCPath to ensure that poorly performing methods, poorly performing labs, or unacceptable variation between tests can be discussed in a national forum, with appropriate actions assigned at a network and national level.
The report also welcomes the establishment of an EQA Oversight Board by the UK’s RCPath. The report recommends that this board:
• uses EQA data to ensure that methodologies used are of an acceptable quality, with harmonisation of methods where possible;
• sets performance standards that manufacturers must meet for tests supplied to the NHS, ensuring that a manufacturer’s method is fit for purpose.
The report recommends that EQA performance is monitored alongside a number of other metrics including:
• timeliness and turnaround times;
• workforce issues;
• user satisfaction;
• safety incidents;
• accreditation and EQA performance.
This monitoring will allow labs visibility of issues easily and to analyse performance across a range of areas.
You can read the full report here.