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External Quality Assessment (EQA)

The UK National External Quality Assessment Service (NEQAS) provide an external quality assessment (EQA/EPT) service for clinical laboratories. EQA monitors laboratory performance using ‘blind’ samples analysed as if they were patient samples to ensure testing is comparable, safe and clinically useful to a patient no matter where the testing is performed.

 

The purpose of EQA:
  • Allow labs to monitor, evaluate and improve all aspects of service provision.
  • Allows participants to compare their assay performance across time, across method, across networks
  • Give insight into individual lab performance in a national setting helping to drive improvements.
  • May reveal unsuspected areas of weakness and can also act as a check on the efficacy of internal quality control procedures.
  • Can be used as a tool for competency assessment of lab staff.
  • Independent
  • Highlights best practice, common errors or poor practice, up-to-date guidance and clinically relevant performance issues.
  • EQA participation demonstrates that your laboratory is committed to providing the highest quality of analysis for all patients.

 

Our EQA Schemes

UK NEQAS for H&I are proud to offer a wide variety of external quality assessment (EQA/EPT) schemes, as well as free educational schemes, covering all aspects of the delivery of histocompatibility and immunogenetic diagnostic services. We use expert knowledge and experience, coupled with a vision for innovation  to continually review our schemes in order to maintain their clinical relevance and convenience for our participants.

UK NEQAS is an important part of clinical governance and quality assurance structures and reports to a number of oversight bodies in the UK such as RCPath, MHRA and UKAS to support better governance and patient safety. Our schemes are developed in accordance with the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) and the European Federation for Immunogenetics (EFI) so that our participants meet the conditions required of accreditation to ISO:15189 and the EFI standards for accreditation. For more information on how our EQA schemes and how they can help with accreditation, please contact us.

 

We strive for continual development of the service and to harmonise with changing clinical practice and technologies.  We continually review our schemes and assessment criteria to actively improve standards in clinical practice within H&I.

Please use the download button below to download our full participant guide on our schemes.

Below is a full list of the EQA and Educational schemes that we offer. Please see the relevant tabs for an overview of the schemes and follow the links for more in-depth descriptions of the individual schemes.

Please note that the scheme fees stated are for the current distribution year. Full details on fees can be found here.

 

Scheme Purpose: To assess participants’ ability to use serological and supplementary methods to correctly identify HLA specificities.

Material Whole Blood Isolated Lymphocytes
Volume of Sample 10-15 mL 1.5 mL
Distributions per Year 5
No. Samples per Distribution 2
Total Samples per Year 10
Assessment Options HLA- A, B, C, DR, DQ
Consensus 75% agreement
Satisfactory Performance Obtaining nine or more complete HLA phenotypes in agreement with the consensus phenotypes in a distribution year.

 

More Scheme 1A Information…

 

Scheme Purpose:  To assess participants’ ability to correctly determine the HLA-B27/B2708/B*27 status as positive or negative.

Material Whole Blood Isolated Lymphocytes
Volume of Sample 4-10 mL 1.5 mL
Distributions per Year 5
No. Samples per Distribution 2
Total Samples per Year 10
Assessment Options N/A
Consensus 75% agreement
Satisfactory Performance Making ten sample reports in agreement with the consensus/reference “HLA-B27” status in a year.

 

More Scheme 1B Information…

 

Scheme Purpose: To assess participants’ ability to correctly determine cell/serum cytotoxic crossmatch status.

Material Whole Blood w/ Sera Isolated Lymphocytes w/ Sera
Volume of Sample 15-25 mL (150µl sera) 1.5 mL (150µl sera)
Distributions per Year 5
No. Samples per Distribution  2 (w/ 8 sera)
Total Samples per Year 10 (w/ 40 sera)
Assessment Options Register for assessment at T cells, B cells, Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes with or without DTT
Consensus 75% agreement
Satisfactory Performance Satisfactory performance is making 85% of reports in agreement with the consensus findings in a year for each cell/DTT combination registered for.

 

More Scheme 2A Information…

 

Scheme Purpose: To assess participants’ ability to correctly determine cell/serum flow cytometry crossmatch status.

Material Whole Blood w/ Sera Isolated Lymphocytes w/ Sera
Volume of Sample 15-25 mL (300µl sera) 1.5 mL  (300µl sera)
Distributions per Year 5
No. Samples per Distribution  2 (w/ 8 sera)
Total Samples per Year 10 (w/ 40 sera)
Assessment Options Register for assessment at T cells and/or B cells
Consensus 75% agreement
Satisfactory Performance Satisfactory performance is making 85% of reports in agreement with the consensus findings in a year for each cell type registered for.

 

More Scheme 2B Information…

 

Scheme Purpose: The purpose of this Scheme is to assess the laboratory’s ability to determine the component HLA specificity or specificities in the antisera using all methods the laboratory employs for clinical samples.

Material Sera
Volume of Sample 1 mL
Distributions per Year 2
No. Samples per Distribution  5
Total Samples per Year 10
Assessment Options Register for assessment at Class I only or Class I and Class II (DQA and DPA optional)
Consensus 75% agreement
Satisfactory Performance Satisfactory performance is testing ten serum samples and getting at least 75% of specificities in agreement with the consensus findings in a year.
More Scheme 3 Information…

 

Scheme Purpose: To assess participants’ ability to correctly determine HLA alleles at the 1st field level.

Material Whole Blood
Volume of Sample 4-10 mL
Distributions per Year 2
No. Samples per Distribution  5
Total Samples per Year 10
Assessment Options HLA-A, B, C, DRB1, DRB3, DRB4, DRB5, DQA1, DQB1, and DPA1 for 1st field assessment, or ‘presence of’ assessment for DRB3, DRB4 and, DRB5. DPA1 results will be assessed if sufficient results are received.
Consensus 75% agreement
Satisfactory Performance Obtaining nine or more full HLA genotypes in agreement with the consensus/reference genotypes in a year.

 

More Scheme 4A1 Information…

 

Scheme Purpose: To assess participants’ ability to correctly interpret their Scheme 4A1 DNA based typing results to the ‘split’ HLA specificity level.

Material Whole Blood (4A1 Sample)
Volume of Sample 4-10 mL
Distributions per Year 2
No. Samples per Distribution 5
Total Samples per Year 10
Assessment Options HLA-A, B, Cw, DRB1, DQB1 or ‘presence of’ assessment for Bw4/6 and DR51/52/53.
Consensus 75% agreement
Satisfactory Performance Obtaining nine or more full HLA genotypes in agreement with the consensus/reference genotypes in a year.

 

**Please note that scheme 4A1i is only available to participants who are registered for scheme 4A1**

 

More Scheme 4A1i Information…

 

Scheme Purpose: To assess participants’ ability to correctly determine HLA alleles to the 2nd or 3rd field level.

Material Whole Blood
Volume of Sample 4-10 mL
Distributions per Year 2
No. Samples per Distribution  5
Total Samples per Year 10
Assessment Options HLA-A, B, C, DRB1, DRB3, DRB4, DRB5, DQA1, DQB1, DPA1 and DPB1, for 2nd or 3rd field assessment.
Consensus 75% agreement
Satisfactory Performance Obtaining nine or more full HLA genotypes in agreement with the consensus/reference genotypes in a year.

 

More Scheme 4A2 Information…

 

Scheme Purpose: To assess participants’ ability to correctly determine HFE mutations.

Material Whole Blood
Volume of Sample 4-10 mL
Distributions per Year 3
No. Samples per Distribution  3 / 4 / 3
Total Samples per Year 10
Assessment Options Register to have the H63D (Hist63Asp) mutation, C282Y (Cys282Tyr) mutation and S65C (Ser65Cys) mutation of the HFE gene assessed.
Consensus 75% agreement
Satisfactory Performance Satisfactory performance is making ten sample reports in full agreement with the consensus/reference H63D and C282Y and S65C genotypes (if applicable) in a year.

 

More Scheme 5A Information…

 

Scheme Purpose: To assess participants’ ability to make an accurate, clear and concise clinical report, appropriate for the range of clinical staff involved in a patient’s care and treatment, given HFE genotype and other relevant clinical information.
Participants are requested to note the EMQN best practice guidelines for the molecular genetic diagnosis of hereditary haemochromatosis (HH), published in 2015 when making their reports. (https://www.nature.com/articles/ejhg2015128).

 

Material Clinical Scenarios (paper based scheme)
Volume of Sample N/A
Distributions per Year 2
No. Samples per Distribution  2
Total Samples per Year 4 Scenarios
Assessment Options N/A
Consensus N/A
Satisfactory Performance Satisfactory performance is obtaining 4 ‘Acceptable’ classifications in a year.

 

More Scheme 5B Information…

 

Scheme Purpose: To assess participants’ ability to correctly determine the presence of HLA antibodies using all methods the laboratory employs for clinical samples.

Material Sera
Volume of Sample 1 mL
Distributions per Year 2
No. Samples per Distribution  6
Total Samples per Year 12
Assessment Options Class I only or Class I and Class II antibody assessment
Consensus 75% agreement
Satisfactory Performance Satisfactory performance is making 80% of reports on all sera in agreement with the consensus Class I or both the consensus Class I and Class II antibody findings in a year.

 

More Scheme 6 Information…

 

Scheme Purpose: To assess participants’ ability to correctly determine HLA-B*57:01 status.

Material Whole Blood
Volume of Sample 4-10 mL
Distributions per Year 3
No. Samples per Distribution  3 / 4 / 3
Total Samples per Year 10
Assessment Options N/A
Consensus 75% agreement
Satisfactory Performance Satisfactory performance is making ten sample reports in agreement with the consensus/reference HLA-B*57:01 status in a year.

 

More Scheme 7 Information…

 

Scheme Purpose: To assess participants’ ability to correctly determine disease associated HLA allele families/alleles.

Material Whole Blood DNA
Volume of Sample 4-10 mL 40-100 µL*
Distributions per Year 3
No. Samples per Distribution  3 / 4 / 3
Total Samples per Year 10
Assessment Options Coeliac disease, narcolepsy, actinic prurigo, birdshot retinopathy, Behcet’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, psoriasis and/or allopurinol hypersensitivity.
Consensus Reference Result
Satisfactory Performance Satisfactory performance is obtaining ten samples in agreement with the reference genotype in a year for each disease registered for.

*DNA concentration ≥ 0.3 µg/µL (typical range = 0.3-0.5 µg/µL)

More Scheme 8 Information…

 

Scheme Purpose: To assess participants’ ability to correctly determine the presence or absence of specific KIR genes.

Material Whole Blood
Volume of Sample 4-10 mL
Distributions per Year 2
No. Samples per Distribution  5
Total Samples per Year 10
Assessment Options N/A
Consensus 75% agreement
Satisfactory Performance Satisfactory performance is obtaining nine or more full KIR genotypes in agreement with the consensus/reference genotypes in a year.

 

More Scheme 9 Information…

 

Scheme Purpose: To assess participants’ ability to correctly determine HPA polymorphisms.

Material Whole Blood
Volume of Sample 4-10 mL
Distributions per Year 2
No. Samples per Distribution  5
Total Samples per Year 10
Assessment Options Participants can register for assessment for any combination of the following: HPA-1, HPA-2, HPA-3, HPA-4, HPA-5, HPA-6, HPA-15.
Consensus 75% agreement
Satisfactory Performance Satisfactory performance is obtaining nine or more full HPA genotypes in agreement with the consensus/reference genotypes in a year.

 

More Scheme 10 Information…

 

Scheme Purpose: To assess participants’ ability to correctly detect the presence of and determine the specificity of HPA antibodies.

Material Sera
Volume of Sample 1 mL
Distributions per Year 2
No. Samples per Distribution  4
Total Samples per Year 8
Assessment Options N/A
Consensus 75% agreement
Satisfactory Performance Satisfactory performance is testing eight samples and getting at least 75% of specificities in agreement with the consensus findings in a year.

 

More Scheme 11 Information…

 

Scheme Purpose: To provide participants with a variety of interesting samples/scenarios to test that offer a beneficial educational element.

**Note: This scheme is only available to participants who are also regsitered for scheme 1A, 4A1 and/or 4A2.**

Material Whole Blood DNA*
Volume of Sample ? 40-100 µL
Distributions per Year 2
No. Samples per Distribution  2
Total Samples per Year 4
Assessment Options N/A
Consensus N/A
Satisfactory Performance The educational scheme samples and scenarios are not assessed.

*DNA concentration ≥ 0.3 µg/µL (typical range = 0.3-0.5 µg/µL)

More Scheme ED Information…

 

 

Scheme Purpose: To provide participants with a variety of interesting samples/scenarios to test that offer a beneficial educational element.

**Note: This scheme is only available to laboratories who are registered with any other UK NEQAS for H&I EQA/EPT scheme.**

Material Clinical Scenarios (paper based scheme)
Volume of Sample N/A
Distributions per Year 3
No. Samples per Distribution  1
Total Samples per Year 3 Scenarios
Assessment Options N/A
Consensus N/A
Satisfactory Performance The educational scheme samples and scenarios are not assessed.

 

More Scheme iED Information…

 

Scheme Purpose: To provide participants with a variety of interesting samples/scenarios to test that offer a beneficial educational element.

**Note: This scheme is only available to participants who are also regsitered for scheme 2A, 2B and/or 3.**

Material Whole Blood w/ Sera
Volume of Sample 15-20 mL (750 µL sera)
Distributions per Year 1
No. Samples per Distribution  1 (w/ 3 sera)
Total Samples per Year 1 (w/ 3 sera)
Assessment Options N/A
Consensus N/A
Satisfactory Performance The educational scheme samples and scenarios are not assessed.

 

More Scheme EDXM Information…

Chimerism Analysis

If you for are looking for a scheme for Chimerism Analysis please go to our sister UK NEQAS provider, UK NEQAS for Leucocyte Immunophenotyping, by clicking below.

UK NEQAS for Leucocyte Immunophenotyping

ABO Titres

If you are looking for a scheme covering ABO Titration please go to our sister UK NEQAS provider, UK NEQAS for Haematology and Transfusion, by clicking below.

UK NEQAS for Haematology and Transfusion

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