Covid-19 All Centre Update for w/c 20th April 2020

To help UK NEQAS participants in the current Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, we will be providing a weekly all-centre update. We will also provide an email address for each centre should anyone wish to make direct contact with their centre. Here’s the update for week commencing 20th April 2020:


UK NEQAS CentreUpdate for w/c 20th April 2020
Birmingham Quality (Clinical Chemistry)Birmingham Quality will be open as usual this week and the on-line Schedule remains valid.
The exception is for the non-specimen based Interpretative Comments Scheme, where are allowing a little extra time for both Participants and Assessors.
Blood CoagulationExtending several deadlines for survey closing dates.
Blood Transfusion Laboratory PracticeNo significant changes.
Cardiac MarkersContinues to operate as normal. The scheme will commence with the dispatch of May distribution (264) from 24th April (overseas) and 27th April (UK). Result entry for 264 will open 1 week earlier on 27th April but the closing date will remain the same - 22nd May. This should allow laboratories an extra week to process this distribution. Cardiac Markers will continue to review their dispatch dates over the next couple of months and adapt if required. Information can be found on the UK NEQAS Cardiac Markers website
Cellular Pathology TechniqueAwaiting centre update.
Edinburgh Peptide HormonesAwaiting centre update.
Genomics (GenQA)Awaiting centre update.
Guildford Peptide HormonesSchemes are carrying on as per normal for the time being.
HaematologyReports for 2004FB and 2002DL will be slightly delayed due to extended closing times and postal delivery problems.
For the most recent updates, please see our website

Our aim is to maintain services to support high throughput, automated testing and national screening programmes, in accordance with the advice on prioritisation of laboratory medicine testing during the Covid-19 pandemic from the UK professional bodies (RCPath, IBMS, ACB and NHS England).
Participants are asked to email for admin queries or for scientific queries, rather than phone, as the majority of the administration team are working from home.
Head and Neck PathologyAwaiting centre update.
Histocompatibility & ImmunogeneticsH&I plan to start sending samples again from June. Their revised distribution timetable will be under constant review to ensure they can source samples and that courier services are operating as required to ensure service provision.
Immunocytochemistry & In-Situ HybridisationWe are continuing with the assessment of Run 129/58, which is now almost complete, but with a reduced number of staff working the post-assessment validation and processing procedures will take longer than normal and so your reports will not be despatched until the 4th week of April at the earliest.
We have had to review our intentions with regard to the despatch of Run 130 in light of the increased restrictions necessarily imposed to combat the outbreak. And have now decided to delay Run 130 by at least one month, with the aim of sending out materials in mid to late-June. As soon as we can confirm these dates, or if the situation changes significantly, I will write to let you know.
It remains our committed aim to complete all four assessment runs of the forthcoming EQA year, and we will be adjusting the scheduling of the remaining three runs to ensure this happens.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do get in touch. Note that the office phones are not manned at this time.
Immunology, Immunochemistry & AllergyIIA are fully operational with all scheduled distributions being despatched with flexible return deadlines for results. All phone calls and emails are being answered as under normal circumstances.
Only shipments to India and S. Africa are suspended due to import restrictions within country.
Leucocyte ImmunophenotypingThe first exercise going this week and majority of work being done from home - LI staff are only in the office and laboratory for sample production and dispatch.
MicrobiologyMore than 50% of our staff are dealing with COVID 19 activities (testing, preparing lysis buffer, VTM, packing etc.) and the remaining staff are working from home. More and more staff are being drafted to help with the up-scaling of testing.
They are in the process of completing reports for the distributions that have closed and also dealing with customer queries on a daily basis. No EQAs are being despatched until further notice. This applies to the UK and worldwide.
ParasitologyIn line with other Schemes hosted by PHE, Parasitology are not despatching any EQA until further notice, neither to the UK nor worldwide.
Staff are assisting PHE in its COVID-19 response. Otherwise, where possible, our staff are working from home.
Reproductive ScienceReproductive Science is continuing as scheduled for now. The next distribution is May and they intend extending the deadline from 4 weeks to 8 weeks.
Trace ElementsSchemes are carrying on as per normal for the time being.
UK National BNS Neuropathology Interpretative EQA SchemeAwaiting centre update.
Vitamin KRunning as normal. Will continue to monitor response rates to see if extensions are necessary.