I.I.S. contributes to the Eurachem document "Selection, use and interpretation of proficiency testing (PT) schemes by laboratories"

The document "Selection, use and interpretation of proficiency testing (PT) schemes by laboratories" is a mutual action of Eurachem NL and Eurachem UK. We, I.I.S., participated in the Dutch working group; LGC (The Laboratory of the Government Chemist) had an important role in the UK group. The document will be published as a Eurachem guide.

A regular independent assessment of the technical performance of a laboratory is recommended as an important means of assuring the validity of analytical measurements, and as part of an overall quality strategy. A common approach to this assessment is the use of independent proficiency testing (PT) schemes. A PT scheme is a system for objectively evaluating laboratory results by external means, and includes regular comparison of a laboratory’s results at intervals with those of other laboratories. This is achieved by the scheme co-ordinator regularly distributing identical test samples to participating laboratories for analysis and reporting of the data. Each distribution of test samples is referred to as a round.

The main objective of a PT scheme is to help the participating laboratory to assess the accuracy of its test results. In addition, participation is recommended for laboratories seeking accreditation to the standard of EN45001. Indeed, in some sectors such participation is mandatory.

The Eurachem document is intended to give guidance on the selection and use Proficiency Testing (PT) schemes for laboratory analysts, senior managers and quality managers. These guidelines aim to explain how PT scheme data is produced and how such data should be interpreted to give an objective picture of the performance of individual participating laboratories, a laboratory within its peer group and with respect to the PT scheme as a whole.

The document represents the current (1999) state-of-the-art with respect to the selection and use of PT schemes, and the interpretation of results and evaluations given in proficiency testing schemes. Although this is aimed primarily at staff in analytical laboratories, it is also useful for customers of laboratories, assessors working for accreditation bodies and other external users of PT scheme results.

At this moment, the document is not available yet. As soon as it is published, we will make an announcement on our Internet site.