UK NEQAS for General Haematology (UK NEQAS(H)) is the expert centre within UK NEQAS for all aspects of General Haematologydiagnostic testing external quality assessment (EQA). The Scheme provides EQA for automated haematology counting,blood and bone marrow morphology, haemoglobinopathies and other inherited red cell disorders.

UK NEQAS (H) offers a wide range of related EQA schemes from which participants may select the combination that fits their laboratory profile.  This makes the Scheme flexible and adaptable to participants’ needs. UK NEQAS (H) serves over 1300 participants, with approximately 750 laboratories and other pathology service providers in the UK and a further 600 internationally.

All UK NEQAS (H) services comply with the UK NEQAS Charity’s Code of Practice and are offered on a not for profit basis.

UK NEQAS (H), on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO), also organises an International EQA Scheme (IEQAS (H)) which has been designed mainly for developing countries. IEQAS (H) has nearly 80 participants in over 50 countries.

Scope and frequency of the tests offered
Tests
  • Screening for FMH by acid elution (fetal cells seen and quantification triggered)
  • Quantification of FMH in mL
    • by acid elution
    • by flow cytometry

Additional Information collected for performance monitoring for laboratories registered for acid elution

  • Initial dose of anti-D suggested
  • Referral for flow cytometry

The additional information is used to determine whether the participant would place a woman at risk of sensitisation to the D antigen in a similar clinical situation.

The Scheme distributes 12 samples per year, currently two samples six times per year.

Participants receive a schedule of the survey despatch dates at registration or annual re-registration. The schedule is also published on the website. Any changes to the schedule are highlighted on the website and participants informed by email.

Survey format

Each survey includes two whole blood samples coded to denote the year, survey and patient identity. Other forms of material, e.g. unfixed films, may be distributed on a trial basis during the year.

Questionnaires

Questionnaires regarding FMH related procedures may be issued periodically. It is extremely important that these are completed and returned so that significant associations between performance and procedures can be established and the analysis returned to participants.

Assigned values, assessment system and penalty scoring

You can find details about our assessment system and penalty scoring in the FMH Participant's Manual v5

An annual schedule is sent at registration or re-registration. A schedule can also be found on the website: http://www.ukneqasfmh.org

If they havenít arrived by three days after the published distribution date, you should phone the Scheme for advice on +44 (0) 1923 217878.

Neither the adult red cells nor the cord cells are stable enough to allow us to extend the closing date further. The adult cells become crenated and make interpreting the film more difficult and the cord cells appear to become fragile and may be selectively destroyed by the preparation process for testing by flow cytometry. The steering Committee feels that it is entirely appropriate that the EQA samples are dealt within the usual turnaround times for clinical samples.

Results can still be analysed until the reports have been published. However, late results do attract 50 penalty points and the films must have been made, and/or the flow cytometry testing undertaken, on or before the closing date, as the Scheme cannot guarantee the integrity of the samples after the closing date. If in doubt, you should contact the Scheme for advice.

Phone the Scheme on +44 (0) 1923 217878 to request a repeat sample. You will be asked for your PRN and the reason for your request.

Send an email request to the scheme at  HYPERLINK "mailto:[email protected]" [email protected]. Valid email addresses will also be required for the consultant contacts and any other contact who requires a report.

Email the Scheme at  HYPERLINK "mailto:[email protected]" [email protected] or phone +44 (0)1923 217878. If you are not the main contact, your email request will need to be copied to the main contact, in order for us to release an ID or password.

You are supplied with a randomly generated password. Although you may change this on request, there are some restrictions, e.g. the password must be at least 7 characters long and contain a mixture of alpha and numeric characters.

Yes you can. You will be given a second registration number (usually the same as your original number but with a letter as a suffix, e.g. 12345A) for the second method. If you screen by acid elution and quantify by flow cytometry, you will also need two registrations, which will need to be managed separately by the laboratory to avoid the flow cytometry results inadvertently influencing the screening results.