The Scheme maintains the principle of assessment by professional consensus and supports the general philosophy of the UK NEQAS schemes to improve standards by education and peer group review rather than by penalty. Performance criteria provide benchmarks which allow comparison of laboratories against national and European guidelines.
Satisfactory performance reassures clinical colleagues, other professionals and the public about the quality of diagnostic work in laboratories.
CCNEQAS has developed a scoring system such that substandard performance in any criterion can be converted into a numerical score. This is considered essential to allow objective comparisons to be made between participant laboratories and against absolute standards. All laboratories will be given a score against these criteria using agreed marking criteria and performance standards. Furthermore, in order to protect the interests of patients, appropriate strategies for dealing with unsatisfactory have to be clearly defined. CCNEQAS is a fully interpretative EQA scheme. Performance criteria have been divided into two broad inter-linked categories:
1. Analytical performance:
Correct analysis: scoring of the quality of individual laboratory analyses and description of ISCN
2. Interpretative performance:
Correct interpretation: scoring of the quality of individual laboratory reports.
Any UK laboratory with persistent poor performance, as defined in the performance criteria documents (see links below), will be referred to the National Quality Assurance Advisory Panel (NQAAP).
Any non-UK laboratories with persistent poor performance, as defined in the performance criteria documents (see links below), will be referred to the Steering Committee and will be asked to state what measures have been undertaken to address the unsatisfactory performance.
It is the responsibility of the laboratory to inform the relevant authorities of a persistent poor performance designation.
Should you require more information in the meantime, please contact the Scheme office.