About Vetqas and Proficiency Testing
- Who should be my main point of contact for Vetqas PT schemes?
- What are the Vetqas hours of business?
- How can I register to take part in a scheme?
- What is the difference between EQA schemes and PT schemes?
- What is the difference between IQC and PT?
- How can PT schemes be used to monitor the performance of a lab?
- Are the PT samples “real samples” to mimic routine lab specimens?
- How will Vetqas PT schemes help my laboratory?
- Are the Vetqas schemes accredited?
- How do I find out more about Vetqas schemes accreditation?
- What is the range of PT schemes offered by Vetqas?
- How do I choose the right scheme?
- What if the scheme I need is not shown on the current price list?
- Is the cost for one distribution or many?
- How do you decide what the right answer is?
- How are the results assessed?
- Are my PT results confidential?
- What is your data handling and data protection policy?
- What is PT LIMS?
- If I have a problem can I get additional technical advice?
A: Vetqas is APHA’s independent, accredited, proficiency testing (PT) unit based in Leicestershire. It is the international market leader in proficiency testing (PT) for veterinary laboratories with over 30 years experience. Recognised by national accreditation bodies for your ISO 17025 accreditation, our PT schemes provide you with the evidence you need to prove that your tests meet third party quality standards.
Paula Johnson is Head of Quality Assurance Unit / Scheme Co-ordinator
Anne Bollard is Deputy Head of Quality Assurance Unit / Deputy Scheme Co-ordinator
A: Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is an executive agency working on behalf of the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), Scottish Government and Welsh Government. See GOV.UK: http://www.gov.uk/apha
A: To enhance its scientific activity, APHA develops commercial products and services, and makes them available to scientists around the world. These services have been brought together as APHA Scientific. APHA Scientific brings scientific expertise, high quality service, innovative methods and, in many cases, unique products and services to the market. These include Proficiency Testing.
A: This is the single sign-on website for the Animal and Plant Health Agency. From here you can gain access to APHA business applications available over the internet.
A: Please use our general mailbox address, which is Vetqas@apha.gsi.gov.uk. This mailbox is monitored throughout normal office hours by our Admin team and emails will be forwarded to the most appropriate member of staff. Telephone number is +44 (0) 1509 670607. When contacting us please quote your QAL contract number or your Lab ID number so that we can identify you.
A: Members of staff are available Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 17:00 hrs (UK time). We are closed on Saturday and Sunday and on UK Bank Holidays. An answering machine is available for messages outside of working hours and when staff are temporarily unavailable.
A: Email us at Vetqas@apha.gsi.gov.uk with details of the scheme you want to join (using the PT number from our price-list) and we will send you a quote of the costs involved. When you have confirmed that you want to join the scheme we will send you an Acknowledgement of Order (contract) for you to sign and return.
A: Proficiency Testing and External Quality Assessment are different names for the same thing. PT/EQA acts as a check on the laboratory quality system by the testing of specimens of undisclosed content.
A: Internal Quality Control relates to controls used routinely in a laboratory’s processes to verify that a particular test is performed correctly. PT relates to ongoing monitoring of a laboratory’s performance using a test method over time using samples that are more closely related to real test samples.
A: PT results should be monitored over a period of time to detect bias or repeated unsatisfactory results, which may indicate poor performance. A single poor result is not indicative of overall lab performance but neither is a single good result.
A: Depending on the scheme, samples can be liquid or freeze dried serum, freeze dried cultures or Lenticules (small discs that contain bacteria), whole blood, freeze dried tissue/milk samples, faeces or glass slides. For some schemes, e.g. Microbiology, they may not be in the usual matrix but will contain the expected mix of organisms usually found in that sample type. Every PT sample must be stable and homogeneous throughout the testing period. The best way to achieve this with some Microbiology schemes is to use simulated specimens.
A: The main benefit is to give you confidence that your lab is performing its routine testing correctly. You will get an unbiased external assessment of your performance which can be used to show competency to your clients / accreditation assessors.
A: The majority of schemes on the price list are accredited by United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to ISO/IEC 17043 – Conformity assessment Guidelines for Proficiency testing providers. All schemes on the website price list are annotated showing current status.
Q: How do I find out more about Vetqas schemes accreditation?
A: Our price list indicates schemes that are accredited. You can access further
information by clicking on these links:
A: Vetqas currently offer veterinary schemes covering Antibody detection, Haematology, Virology, TSE, Parasitology, Feed Tests, Microbiology and Histopathology. New schemes are always under evaluation.
A: Information sheets for each PT scheme can be found on the website to help you decide whether a scheme is suitable for your needs. Please follow the links on the ‘Vetqas Proficiency Testing Schemes’ page and click on ‘View Details’ next to the PT number on the price-list.
A: Please contact us as we may have a scheme that is not currently listed due to shortage of material, or it may be under development.
Q: Is the cost for one distribution or many?
Q: How do you decide what the right answer is?
A: Samples are tested prior to issue to obtain an assigned value (intended results). For some schemes statistics are used on the participant’s results to determine the assigned value.
A: Each scheme is assessed by an expert and relevant comments are added to provide feedback to participants. For some schemes statistics are used including mean values, z scores, and for some serology schemes the results are compared to an intended range or value.
A: Yes, each participant is allocated a confidential Lab ID number and results are tabulated using these. Laboratory names are not used on reports.
A: Our data policies can be found in section 5 of our standard ‘Terms & Conditions’.
A: Proficiency Testing Laboratory Information Management System. This is a system designed specifically for Vetqas. It is used to administer the contract and scheme details for all of our Proficiency Testing customers. Customers log onto our PT LIMS via the internet and enter the results of their testing. PT LIMS then processes the results and produces the tabulated reports. PT LIMS then sends an e-mail to participants to inform them that tabulated results are available. Participants can then view their results by logging on to PT LIMS.
A: APHA Test and Disease experts are available to offer additional help when required.
Page last modified: 19 May, 2016