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By providing external quality assessment for homocysteine assays, as a part of overall quality assurance, the programme aims to promote high standards of performance and practice, achieved with the UK NEQAS primary aim of education, by provision of independent, objective and impartial information.
WHO CAN TAKE PART?
The programme is open to all potential participants, whether government supported, private or commercial concerns, and is operated on a not for profit basis, under the auspices of the UK National External Quality Assessment Service, and professional bodies.
The participant registered should be the centre responsible for performing the tests. All information from participants will be treated with strict confidentiality.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Registered centres will be sent four surveys per year, each survey comprising one lyophilised plasma sample for homocysteine assay.
Samples are obtained from donors who have previously been screened for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), and for antibodies to hepatitis C virus and human immunodeficiency virus types 1 and 2 (anti-HIV-1+2).
Participants are asked to provide method details together with results for the sample distributed. A closing date for return of results will be given, normally approximately five weeks after the date of survey distribution. Results will be analysed and individual reports sent to participants as soon as possible after the survey closing date.
The programme has now achieved full UK NEQAS status with performance criteria (quantile grading) assigned. Following approval at the UK NEQAS for Blood Coagulation Steering Committee meeting of 16th January 2003, results from participants are assessed by the ranked grading analysis. A separate information sheet is available from UK NEQAS for Blood Coagulation that explains this method of performance analysis.