Assessment Procedure

Material to be used in the EQA circulation is selected.

Slides from paraffin blocks produced by UK NEQAS ICC or one of our suppliers arrive back at our main office.

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Slides are stained by the participants and returned to the scheme’s offices in London.

Slides are logged by the scheme and then sorted into the various modules ready for assessment.

Assessment five

UK NEQAS ICC & ISH staff (lead) and assessors (score) the slides individually.

Stages of Assessement

At each assessment, laboratories are sent formalin-fixed paraffin processed tissue sections or cell lines, (alcohol fixed cytospins or cell block sections for the cytology scheme) along with a run cover letter containing instructions for the on-line data entry and other important points and information.

Typically, participants are asked to demonstrate 2 different antigens (one each for the breast, gastric, and ALK modules) on the slides provided. Participants’ are asked to place their usual ‘in house’ control section at the bottom of the NEQAS slide, stain the slide and return the best one for assessment.

For most modules, one of the antigens requested is repeated from one assessment to the next for a period of 12 months and serves as a ‘gold standard’.

This allows participants to implement recommended changes if their quality of immuno-staining is found to be sub-standard and to test out their improved technique at the next assessment.

They are also requested to complete details of the antibody and protocols they have employed via the website.

The slides bearing each participants’ unique laboratory code number (to ensure anonymity) are then marked by an expert panel consisting of senior biomedical or clinical scientists, and consultant histopathologists.

Interpretation of the scores achieved at assessment

  • Each of the 4 assessors awards marks out of 5 using the guidelines issued for each antigen.
  • The marks are then totalled to give a score out of 20.
  • An acceptable level of staining attracts marks greater than 12/20.
  • A borderline mark in the 10-12/20 range indicates that whilst some information can be obtained from the slide, the staining is sub-optimal.
  • Lastly, a score of less than 10/20 is given for poor immunocytochemistry that has failed to clearly demonstrate the required components.

End of year performance record

After the end of each fiscal year the service provides all participants with a summary of the results they achieved over the preceding year.


Appeals procedure

Participants who are not satisfied with the scores received at a particular assessment run are invited to resubmit the slides for reassessment.

This reassessment takes place at the first assessors meeting after receipt of the request for reassessment.

If the reassessment scores are different than the original ones, the score sheets and database are amended accordingly and the participant sent amended scores and a letter of explanation.

Please see the Performance Monitoring page for details and forms CLICK HERE>

Complaints procedure

Complaints about the service offered by UK NEQAS ICC & ISH should be addressed to the service Director/Organiser, Mr. Andrew Dodson, please CLICK HERE  NEQ MF4 to download the Complaint Form, we will repsond to your complaint within 14 days; the contact details are given at the top of the form.

Assessment Procedure