Welcome to the 2023 winter edition of the UK NEQAS for Microbiology newsletter.
Due to the cyber-incident UK NEQAS for Microbiology & UK NEQAS for Parasitology were subject to back in July 2023, we were unfortunately unable to release a summer edition of the newsletter. However, we have been putting together articles and hope you enjoy the contents of this season’s extended newsletter.
We would like to extend our thanks and gratitude to our participants for their continued support and for being patient with us whilst we tried to recover our services during the cyber-incident.
We recently had our annual scientific meeting in November at the Holiday Inn, Bloomsbury. For those of you who were able to attend, we hope that it was an informative and interesting conference, and for those of you that didn’t, we hope to see you next year.
In other exciting news, 2023 has seen the launch our new website! This is something we have been working on internally for a while and we are thrilled that the site is now live for the world to see. If you haven’t already, please have a look around and explore our new online home.
Best wishes from all of us at UK NEQAS for Microbiology. We hope you are well and wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I was invited to chair the consortium working group this time and together we decided on the title Evolution - Revolution - Resolution, with a vein of Star Trek quotations for each session over the two days.
It was an amazing attendance by all centres of UK NEQAS, with a plethora of presentations including the importance of fungal infections, the keynote lecture by Professor Andy Borman, I followed with a presentation on fungal facts and EQA performance in our Mycology schemes.
There is always a session for budding and developing young scientists to present on projects that they may be working on within their centre and am proud to announce our Margaret Babatunde (one of four scientific staff selected) on a current project, in developing a new EQA for Group B screening, was selected for an oral presentation.
Always a good experience attending these consortium meetings, an opportunity to meet new staff and sharing knowledge with all the delegates and continue harmonisation of processes across the schemes
25 years working in UK NEQAS for Microbiology! Thank you for the recognition and gift; I have always been proud of what I do, and aware that my work has indirectly benefited patients and resulted in better healthcare outcomes. I have attended many UK NEQAS consortiums before, and I have to say that this was one of the most productive and engaging. I always learn new things and make new friends. It is also the only conference where all the topics are related to EQA.
I attended day one of the conference, after joining UK NEQAS for Microbiology in August 2023. It was a good opportunity to meet other colleagues from the organisation, with some interesting talks by the various speakers. I thought Shila Seaton’s talk on mycology was particularly excellent and explained very well, with great visuals included in the presentation, which made it accessible to those from a non-clinical background like myself.
Professor Andy Borman's presentation at the UK NEQAS consortium event highlighted to me the growing prevalence of fungal infections, which are now more resistant to the four primary classes of antifungal agents currently in use. This rise in fungal infections, some of which pose a substantial public health threat, may be linked to factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and escalating resistance to existing antifungal treatment. Notably, the incidence of mucoraceous mould infections saw a significant increase in diabetic patients in India during the pandemic.
I enjoyed the visuals which Shila Seaton showed and was engaged when recognising some of the organism names which I have worked with in preparing the Antifungal Susceptibility and Mycology schemes. I was also amazed by the statistics for fungal infections (more than breast cancer and TB cases individually) and enjoyed hearing about the new categorisations of fungal pathogens according to WHO priority pathogen list (critical, high and medium, risk). Interesting that Candida auris and Candida glabatra (now termed Nakaseomyces glabrata) are less closely related than Boa snake and humans.
I am delighted to share with you a recap of the exciting and informative 2023 UK NEQAS Consortium event that took place earlier this year. This annual gathering provided an invaluable opportunity for us to come together, connect, and deepen our understanding of the remarkable work being done under the UK NEQAS umbrella.
The event allowed us to put faces to the names we interact with regularly through emails, fostering stronger connections with our colleagues and partners. It was an amazing platform to connect with individuals from various units and gain insights into the diverse aspects of the UK NEQAS program.
One of the highlights of the event was the exploration of different diseases and their impact on our lives. We had the privilege of delving into fascinating research topics, such as mycology and its ongoing awareness studies. These insights not only expanded our knowledge but also highlighted the critical importance of the work we do in healthcare.
The presentations on the Logistic Working Group and Distributors' marketing and promotions strategy were particularly eye-catching. These sessions underscored the significance of well-planned promotional activities for the years ahead. The enthusiasm and dedication of the working groups in shaping the future of our promotional and marketing strategies were truly inspiring.
In summary, the 2023 UK NEQAS Consortium event was an incredible experience that left us with a deeper appreciation for the collaborative efforts within our community. We are excited to announce that we will be attending next year's event as well, eagerly anticipating the opportunity to further strengthen our bonds and knowledge.
We would like to extend our gratitude to all participants, speakers, and organisers who made this event a resounding success. Your dedication to advancing healthcare quality is truly commendable, and we look forward to continuing this journey together.
Thank you for your unwavering support and commitment to the UK NEQAS Consortium. Together, we are making a meaningful difference in the world of healthcare.
During the UK NEQAS Annual Consortium, the UK NEQAS Working Groups have the opportunity to present a summary of their activities throughout the financial year. UK NEQAS has Working Groups in Marketing & Promotions, Quality, IT, Point of Care Testing, Logistics and Sustainability where staff members from different UK NEQAS centres come together to share best practices and work towards common goals. All Working Groups were able to feedback throughout the Consortium to introduce their objectives for the past year and progress made towards them to a wider audience. The newest Working Group is the Sustainability Working Group that was formed in 2023 and is looking to explore ways in which UK NEQAS can progress towards adopting more sustainable ways of working. Also recently formed is the UK NEQAS Wellbeing Forum, which has the remit of encouraging and building on good health and wellbeing practice throughout the UK NEQAS Centres.
Attending the UK NEQAS Consortium event was an informative experience. I had the privilege of presenting an update on our innovative EQA development for Group B streptococcus detection, marking my first public presentation. Despite encountering technical hiccups, the audience's positive feedback was truly heartening and encouraging. This event not only amplified the importance of UK NEQAS’ work but also showcased the supportive and encouraging community within the consortium. I'm grateful for the opportunity and eager to further contribute to advancements in this field.
We are pleased to announce the launch of a new UK NEQAS for Microbiology website in June 2023. The website was created with the intention of providing an improved user experience through a more efficient layout of the home page; clarity of menu items and incorporating a little bit more about us.
The secure area of the website (participants log in) remains unchanged.
Prior to joining the UKHSA I spent over 20 years working within Law Enforcement across the UK. Recently I have specialised in the management and delivery of quality and regulatory compliance for forensic science. Having worked from the lab bench to senior management within UK policing I bring with me a wealth of experience in the delivery of quality and regulatory compliance. I have also worked as a UKAS assessment manager and as a specialist advisor for SWEDAC, giving me an understanding of compliance from the accreditation bodies perspective.
I am excited to support, develop and continue the fantastic work delivered by UK NEQAS. Whilst I have no intentions towards transformational change, I will be promoting the continuous improvement of the service, so that we can continue to provide the best possible services to our participants.
I look forward to our continued working relationships and meeting with some of our participants, distributors, and committee members over the coming year.
For now, I wish you all a peaceful and restful festive season, and for those that are working throughout, I hope you get some well deserved time off with your nearest and dearest.
The Antimicrobial Susceptibility scheme has undergone a series of updates, which took effect from April 2023. Firstly, guidelines other than EUCAST and CLSI have been removed. Web entry options now display as either EUCAST/EUCAST affiliated or CLSI/CLSI affiliated only. Participants using other methods were contacted prior to this change.
In addition, histograms have been removed from the scheme report and replaced with more meaningful information, as illustrated below.
The intended results for EUCAST and CLSI have been separated out into individual tables (above). This allows us at UK NEQAS to score the guidelines independently. Previously, the report set-up did not allow scoring when there was a difference in the interpretation of either guideline, for example: EUCAST; R and CLSI; S. This resulted in many agents not being scored, so as not to penalise users of either guidelines.
In addition, interpretations are now displayed as either S, I or R, on both the web reply form and the report. This is to conform with the new EUCAST definition of ‘I’- susceptible, increased exposure and not intermediate. A key will be present on both the web reply form and the report: Page 1.
The scoring policy for the antimicrobial scheme has also changed from April 2023. The scoring is no longer based on >80% of participants obtaining the intended results. Instead, the scoring of antibiotics classified as high difficulty will not be scored. In all other circumstances agents will be scored. Agents classified as a high level of difficulty will be those where the MIC >1xlog2 of the breakpoint. Once finalised, the report is reviewed by the Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing Specialist Advisory Group (ASTSAG) prior to publication.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, UK NEQAS for Microbiology offered the Molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 (CV) scheme at a subsidised price. This was done to maximise benefits and provide confidence in clincal testing to participating laboratories worldwide. Some of the costs associated with acquiring inactivated viruses were covered by special COVID-19 funding. This funding was made available during the height of the pandemic to support relevant initiatives.
At the same time, the Molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 was offered on a monthly basis with 2 specimens in each distribution.
In May 2023, the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 as an established and ongoing health issue which no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).
Which, in turns means that funding for COVID-19 initiatives will cease in the next financial year. As a result, UK NEQAS for Microbiology will need to find an alternative way to fund the acquisition of inactivated SARS-CoV-2 viruses. Thus, the costing and distribution schedule of the CV scheme has been revised.
From April 2024, there will be four distributions of 4 specimens. This will still allow us to ensure that up to date variants are included at short notice.
These strategic changes will help to continue in providing the CV scheme in a financially sustainable way.
Based on participants feedback, UK NEQAS for Microbiology is phasing out the SARS-CoV-2 Point of Care EQA (LF) and Respiratory Rapid (RR) schemes and replacing them with a new Respiratory viruses Point of Care EQA (RV).
The introduction of the new RV scheme, which includes Influenza viruses, SARS-CoV-2, and Respiratory Syncytial viruses (RSV), is a valuable enhancement. This will provide a better comprehensive and appropriate assessment for laboratories that test for these key respiratory viruses. The new scheme will consist of three distributions of 4 specimens in viral transport medium annually, at a cost expected to be favourable to most participants. The three distributions for 2024/2025 have been scheduled as follows: June 2024, October 2024 and February 2025.
The decision to introduce this scheme was based on the 467 questionnaire responses received earlier this year. Of the responses, 68.3 % of participants reported that they tested for Influenza viruses, SARS-CoV-2 and RSV on all respiratory specimens they examined, whilst 31.7% of respondents did not test for all three respiratory viruses.
The ability for participants to report the presence or absence of each virus separately in each specimen aligns with the diversity in testing practices, ensuring that participants are scored based on the viruses they test.
This pilot EQA will assess the quality of SARS-CoV-2 whole genome sequencing. Any platform/technology can be used, and participants can submit FASTA, VCF, FASTQ and BAM files from their analysed data. Participants will receive two samples for viral sequencing per distribution (with a total of 8 samples per year).
For each distribution participants will receive a summary spreadsheet detailing all true positives, false positives and false negative variant calls, gaps present in the submitted sequence, and an assessment of data quality if appropriate file types are provided. In addition, for each distribution participants will receive an individual laboratory report and a summary report containing information regarding general findings, a summary of methodologies used, common errors, number of participants and benchmarking.
Access to a live performance certificate is also available to all GenQA participants summarising performance status for all EQAs in which they are enrolled.
Participants will be required to register with UK NEQAS for Microbiology.
All invoicing and shipment costs will be via UK NEQAS for Microbiology and registration will open in early 2024.
Existing participants can continue to use their GenQA account to submit results and view reports. New participants will receive GenQA account details after registration with UK NEQAS for Microbiology.
HIV Point of care EQA
Scoring for this scheme will be modified as from April 2024.
For specimens with an intended result as HIV positive, the scoring for reactive not referred will change from 1 to 2.
This change in scoring has been implemented as we have participants all over the world who participate in this scheme and they may not be following the same Guidelines as the UK.
However, it is expected that if a patient has tested as presumptive positive for HIV using a POCT assay, they should be referred for further testing and confirmation.
Parvovirus B19 and Rubella serology & Rubella IgG serology EQA
From the new financial year 2024-25, participants will be able to report their Rubella IgG results as positive/ negative based on their assay’s interpretation. Participants will still be required to submit their results in IU/mL to have a better understanding of cut off values of the different assays used.
The Scheme was officially re-launched in November 2022. The primary function of this scheme is to support continuing professional development (CPD) to clinical microbiologists. A wide range of topics (shown in the table) are being covered. There are over 200 registered participants currently.
The aim is to cover different topical themes in each distribution. A challenging aspect for the new scheme organiser has been in setting questions with multiple choice answers. Because of this difficulty, many questions have failed to achieve the 80% consensus required for scoring. To address this, questions are now formatted to have a single answer and where more than one answer is required, this is stipulated alongside the question. New peer reviewers are being recruited to ensure that each distribution has at least two or more reviewers for each case study.
Table. Topics covered by the Interpretive Comments scheme since November 22
The format for questions and answers continues to be multiple choice, with 2 to 4 for each topic. The organisers are attempting to achieve the correct standard that will be appropriate for the majority of participants while retaining the important educational element of the scheme.
All four disciplines bacteriology, virology, parasitology and mycology will be covered over the course of a year. The cyber event in July delayed the scheme schedule for the month, however we are hoping to do a double case later in the year. We would welcome participants contributing to the scheme either as reviewers or by providing clinical cases.
UK NEQAS PARASITOLOGY TEACHING PROGRAMME - Good news
Dr Samuel Boadi has been awarded Chartered Science Teacher (CSciTeach) status by The Association for Science Education (ASE) effective from 21/07/2022; ASE is a licensed body of the Science Council empowered under the terms of its Royal Charter to administer Registration awards to individuals. Dr Boadi also holds a Postgraduate certificate in Higher education from the Middlesex University. He is the UK NEQAS Parasitology Teaching Programme Manager and administers the only established parasitology teaching programme currently associated with any proficiency testing scheme in the UK. He is active in science teaching and learning in the UK and overseas.
Dr Samuel Boadi CSciTeach FIBMS
Online Blood and Faecal Parasitology Teaching Courses from UKNEQAS Parasitology with Bharatiya Arogya Nidhi, Sheth Kantilal C. Parikh General Hospital Mumbai, India.
On the 29th & 30th June 2023, UK NEQAS Parasitology delivered two pilot online parasitology courses in collaboration with Bharatiya Arogya Nidhi, Sheth Kantilal C. Parikh General Hospital Mumbai, India.
Bharatiya Arogya Nidhi, Sheth Kantilal C. Parikh General Hospital Mumbai, India
The pilot courses were set up to help develop an online parasitology course for interested hospitals/organisations in India and the delegates who attended were laboratory heads, medical staff and teachers. The responses to the organisation of the pilot courses have been full of praise, with the recurring request to institute this teaching programme on an annual basis. The faculty for the courses were Dr Samuel Boadi, Dr Jaya Shrivastava, Professor Peter Chiodini; and Dr Nitu Sabharwal, coordinator (Mumbai), officiated.
The following topics were covered:
Prof Peter Chiodini Clinical - Challenges from selected intestinal parasites.
Dr Jaya Shrivastava - Molecular diagnosis of selected intestinal parasites.
Dr Samuel Boadi - Laboratory diagnosis of selected intestinal parasites.
Prof Peter Chiodini Clinical - Challenges from selected blood and tissue parasites.
Dr Jaya Shrivastava - Molecular diagnosis of selected blood and tissue parasites.
Dr Samuel Boadi - Laboratory diagnosis of selected blood and tissue parasites.
Embarking on the Healthcare Science Practitioner Level 6 apprenticeship course marked the beginning of an incredible journey - a journey that culminated in a momentous graduation, filled with learning, growth, and several invaluable experiences.
Throughout the course, each day was a step forward in honing skills and expanding knowledge in the realm of healthcare science. From developing and enhancing laboratory techniques to the intricacies of patient care, the curriculum offered a comprehensive understanding of the field. The blend of theoretical learning and practical application provided a well-rounded education, preparing us for the dynamic challenges within healthcare.
The apprenticeship journey was more than just academics; it was a profound immersion into the healthcare ecosystem. Engaging with students on the course who were also seasoned professionals, learning from their experiences, and participating in real-world scenarios enriched the learning process beyond the classroom. The opportunity to apply classroom teachings directly to practical settings was invaluable, fostering a deep understanding of the impact healthcare science has on patient outcomes.
Undoubtedly, the journey wasn’t devoid of challenges. Balancing work, study, and personal commitments demanded dedication and resilience. Yet, the support and guidance from mentors, instructors, and my colleagues were instrumental in navigating these hurdles. Their encouragement fuelled my drive to persist and excel. The apprenticeship journey was marked by never-ending nights immersed in study sessions, long days in the library and weekends spent at Starbucks, tirelessly working on assignments until closing time. These moments of dedicated effort were vital in mastering the course material, reflecting a steadfast commitment to excellence and a deep passion for learning.
Finally, the graduation day - a culmination of hard work and dedication. Walking across the stage to receive my qualification was a moment of immense pride and accomplishment. It signified the successful completion of such rigorous journey and the transition into a new phase of professional life.
The Healthcare Science Practitioner apprenticeship was not just about academic achievements; it was a transformative experience that sculpted skills, character, and a deep passion for contributing to healthcare. The knowledge gained and the relationships built during this journey will continue to be invaluable assets in the pursuit of excellence in the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare science.
The Healthcare Science Practitioner apprenticeship is an exceptional choice, offering the rare opportunity to learn and immediately apply knowledge in real healthcare settings. This practical approach enhances understanding and skills beyond traditional learning methods.
Written by Margaret Babatunde
EQALM is an umbrella organisation for European EQA organisers in laboratory medicine. EQALM provides a forum for co-operation and exchange of knowledge on quality-related matters especially with regard to EQA programs in Europe.
A symposium of laboratory medicine providers was held in Lyon, France between 18 – 20 October 2023. Numerous UK NEQAS centres attended the meeting, either as a delegate or as an invited speaker.
I was fortunate to attend the symposium on behalf of UK NEQAS for Microbiology and Parasitology. The symposium programme included lectures from experts covering a range of topics that impacts EQA service delivery. Delegates were given the opportunity to attend working groups that covered discussions about the new ISO 17043:2023 standard for EQA providers and helping us to understand the impact this will have, statistics, point of care testing, virtual microscopy and there was one for Microbiology. There was also a large number of posters presented over the three days, providing an opportunity for delegates to present updates on work/projects they were involved with.
The Adam Uldall Lecture was given by Barbara De la Salle, the Director of UK NEQAS Haematology. Barbara’s presentation title was ‘Education: the Holy Grail of EQA’. It started off showing how Dr Mitchell Lewis distributed the first interlaboratory comparison exercises in the UK more than 50 years ago. He demonstrated that the interlaboratory comparability of haemoglobin measurement was poor, which perhaps was not a surprise given the manual nature of the assay, this led to the development of a reference material for haemoglobin concentration. Over the years improvements in the traceability and reliability of diagnostic testing methods have reduced the variation in results in many areas of laboratory medicine; however, challenges still remain. Inter-method differences are more apparent with the diversification of methodologies and models of diagnostic testing, and laboratories face challenges of a changing skill mix of their workforce, increased workloads, the maintenance of competency and a reduction in the time available for training. EQA providers are in a unique position of capturing such data over time and presenting how this can impact laboratory medicine.
Overall, I really enjoy the symposium, we had a dinner cruise on the two rivers in Lyon, Rhône and Saône and I was truly amazed at the beauty of this city especially at night, where modern and historical buildings stood proudly lit against the backdrop of the hills and amongst the 29 magnificent bridges and footbridges.
Presentations were delivered by specialists in their field, including Professor Tim McHugh, a leading expert in medical microbiology, discussing human mobility and bacterial infections, demonstrating how the spread of bacterial infections decreased significantly during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Hannah Pymont, Higher Specialist Scientist Trainee Secretary for the British Infection Society, spoke of the latest occurrences in the field of virology; consultant microbiologist Dr Hugo Donaldson emphasised the difficulties in testing for an azithromycin resistance in Salmonella Typhi.
Research and development is a key area for UK NEQAS and we have been working hard on a number of potential new schemes. Presentations were given regarding the progress of the Group B Streptococci screening scheme and the introduction of a scheme for tissue banks. Initial work on this scheme includes the set-up a pilot study with three tissue banks in Europe and will involve the neutralisation and spiking of heart valves with known bacteria, for detection by participants.
UK NEQAS had a trade stand at the recently-held EuroMedLab 2023 conference, running from 22-24th May in Rome, Italy. We had representatives from Immunology, Clinical Biochemistry, Immunophenotyping and myself from Microbiology on the stand.
This was a very well attended conference and we were able to speak with new and potential participants, answer questions and listen to current and future needs of clinical laboratories.
We also met with several of our distributors and were able to gain insight into additional requirements. It was also a great opportunity to make new contacts, with the potential for new collaborations in the future.
The Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS) Congress runs every two years and was held in Birmingham this September. We had a UK NEQAS trade stand, and it was lovely to meet so many of our participants.
In addition, our bacteriology team had two posters displayed: UK NEQAS Novel EQA in Development – GBS Screening, was displayed under the quality section and Development of a Bespoke External Quality Assessment Scheme for Heart Valves, under bacteriology.
Presenting a poster at the IBMS Congress showcasing my work on "UK NEQAS Novel EQA in development – Group B Streptococcus Screening" was an incredibly rewarding experience. It was very insightful to engage with experts and peers in the field, this allowed for encouraging discussions and valuable feedback, enriching my understanding. IBMS Congress provided an excellent opportunity to spotlight our innovative EQA development, fostering enthusiasm and interest among attendees. Overall, the experience was both fulfilling and inspiring, propelling our research forward with newfound insights and connections.
I had spent almost 2 years working in the NHS during the peak of the Covid pandemic, actively searching a position which would enable me to work towards my goal of obtaining HCPC registration/IBMS accreditation. I eventually found this position at UK NEQAS (UKHSA), working as a Healthcare Scientist in their Bacteriology/Mycology department. The registration portfolio was enriching and insightful, but also challenging as I balanced this alongside my full-time profession. My team were so supportive and accommodating throughout the whole process though, and as cliché as it sounds, I couldn’t have done it without them. Overall, this process was highly rewarding, and I’d recommend it to any budding scientists or even more experienced ones that want to hone their knowledge and skills.
EURACHEM is a network of organisations with the objective of establishing a system for the international traceability of chemical measurements and the promotion of good quality practices. It provides a forum for the discussion of common problems and for developing an informed and considered approach to both technical and policy issues.
The long-awaited 10th EURACHEM PT Workshop took place on 25-28th September 2023 at De Vere Beaumont Estate, Windsor, UK. The workshop attracted hundreds of delegates with over 49 countries being represented. Attendees included proficiency testing (PT) providers, accreditation bodies, regulators as well as PT customers. From UK NEQAS for Microbiology, Nita Patel, Zak Prior and myself (Margaret Njenga) were fortunate to be among the delegates.
The event was structured to include training on day one, with subsequent days comprising a mixture of keynote speakers, short presentations, scientific posters as well as discussion groups. This year, key topics covered included revision of ISO/IEC 17043:2023, PT results statistics, collusion of results between participating laboratories, comparison of synthetic versus real PT items, risk-based analysis and performance analysis in non-quantitative PT.
There were a lot of topics covering ISO/IEC 17043:2023. One of the speakers was Ken Middlebrook (Proficiency Testing Canada). Ken was involved in the revision of ISO/IEC 17043:2023 and he gave an overview of the key differences between the 2010 and 2023 versions. The 2023 revised standard is risk-based and has more flexibility on how PT providers can demonstrate compliance to the standard. There was a working group which I attended discussing the appropriateness of the revised standards and difficulties of implementing the changes. As a PT provider, it is now a requirement to receive participants’ test methodology in order to score their results. The question that arises is what the PT provider should do in situations where participants fail to provide their methodology/kit information. There was also discussion as to whether the new risk-based approach of ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and 15189:2022 has changed the way laboratories participate in EQA/PT in terms of levels and frequencies and what this may mean for PT providers like UK NEQAS for Microbiology, whose PT participation and registration covers all the PT for an entire year.
There was a lecture by Paolo Carnielletto who gave a brief overview on how they introduced risk management in IZVe, an Italian Health Institute. The risk-based analysis involved mapping the interacting activities, e.g., staffing levels, purchasing and suppliers, customer services, etc. within their organisation, which allowed the identification of failure points. Using the risk matrix approach, they were able to categorise and rate the risks dependent on control measures already in place and/or improvement actions noted. This lecture had important points which I will definitely be learning from as we perform risk analysis and management within my team, a requirement for ISO/IEC 17043:2023.
As PT providers we have to embrace technology advancement. This was highlighted by a lecture by M. Abdel (REQUASUD Food Microbiology Reference Laboratory) who presented data on the virtual PT scheme that they offer. This was done by sending pictures of bacterial colonies on petri dishes to participating laboratories. Up to three analysts were allowed to return results on number of colonies, analysis and results in colony forming units per millilitre (cfu/mL), dependent on the dilution factors stated. Virtual PT can be useful in highlighting and addressing post-analytical errors. The other advantage is that analysis of the results can be done by more than one analyst per laboratory per round; hence virtual PT can be a useful training tool.
During the evenings it was lovely to walk in De Vere Beaumont Estate nature trails as I mingled with other delegates.
Not only did I enjoy the workshop, but I also learnt a lot from it. I am sure I will be going back to my notebook, especially to check some of the key points of ISO/IEC 17043:2023 as I help with the gap analysis.
Mala Mascarenhas - Quality Administrator (18/07/2023)
Kemi Wilson - Operations Supervisor (31/07/2023)
Ayesha Thompson - Healthcare Scientist Practitioner (04/09/2023)
Ghaffar Balogun - Health and Safety Co-ordinator (25/09/2023)
Shivam Giri - Operations - Administrator (01/11/2023)
Jaya Shrivastava - (On a secondment) 8 August 2023 – 7 August 2024
Nita Patel - Scheme Organiser for Bacteriology & Mycology (Interim)
Mohammed Islam - promotion to HEO Healthcare Scientist Specialist (01/07/2023)
Heather Crowton –Healthcare Scientist Practitioner (R&D) (18/01/2023)
Ushmanthe Arachchige - Operations Supervisor (03/03/2023)
Rhian Fraser – Healthcare Scientist Specialist (31/03/2023)
Aidan Wiggins –Healthcare Scientist Support Worker (Bank) (03/11/2023)
Andressa Bordignon –Healthcare Scientist Support Worker (Bank) (15/11/2023)
Anisa Hussain –Healthcare Scientist Assistant (17/11/2023)
Pratima Mahajan - Quality Manager (30/11/2023)
Shila Seaton - Scheme Manager for Bacteriology & Mycology (15/12/2023)
Jennifer Henderson - Scheme Organiser for Bacterialogy & Mycology (Maternity leave)