FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Please see the latest Participant Manual and the current cover letter sent out with each run, where these are also covered.
Q: How do I know when to expect each EQA run material?
A: The Participant Update letter sent out contains the proposed schedule. The letter is in the Downloads & Articles section. Prior to the dispatch of slides an email will be sent by the scheme. The schedule can also be found on the website in the Essential Slide Dates section.
Q: What do I do if my slides don’t arrive when expected?
A: If they haven’t arrived after a week of the dispatch date (longer for some overseas participants) please email the Scheme for advice: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What do I do if I miss the closing date?
A: Slides can still be assessed, but please remember that we also require you to submit your protocols, so if the run has been closed, this will prevent you from doing so.
N.B. We currently handle around 5,000 slides per run, therefore prompt arrival of slides greatly aids the sorting and organisation of the assessments.
Q: What do I do if the EQA sample quality is unsatisfactory, or if I break the samples, or I have an equipment malfunction?
A: Contact the Scheme to request replacement slides. You will be asked for:
1) Your Participation Code
2) Your name
3) The reason for your request
You will not be sent any samples unless this is provided.
Q: What do I do if I disagree with my scores?
A: There is an Appeals process and you can submit your slides for Reassessment; a form is available on the Downloads & Articles page: NEQ MF17
Before doing so ensure you have looked at your slides alongside your report, and compared them with the images of optimal staining on the Participant website.
Q: How do I make a formal complaint to the scheme?
A: Formal complaints must be submitted to the scheme Director (or scheme Manager if appropriate) using the designated Complaints Form on the website: NEQ MF4 You will receive a response from the scheme within 14 days.
Please do not use the Reassessment form for this.
Q: How do I register for web entry?
A: Each laboratory will have a main contact. This person will be sent your unique web entry logon and password details. We can also include additional contacts who will be added to the scheme’s database and receive important scheme information by email. Send an email request to the scheme at: email@example.com with a valid email address; ideally this should come from the main contact to ensure confidentiality.
Q: What do I do if I cannot find or have forgotten my ID or password?
A: There is an ‘Email Reminder’ button at the bottom of the Participant Login screen. If you are not the main contact, your email request may need to be copied to the main contact, in order for us to release an ID or password.
Q: Can I change my password details?
A: You are supplied with a Participation Code, Lab ID, and password when you register with the scheme. We normally only change a password when there is a change of main contact. If you wish to change the password for any other reason, please contact the scheme.
Q: How can I get feedback and advice from the scheme?
A: The scheme is always happy to provide participants with feedback and any technical advice where possible. Please send your slides addressed to the scheme Manager, ideally in a separate envelope from your EQA submissions with a covering letter. We will endeavour to respond to you as soon as we are able. Or you can contact any of the scheme’s support staff if you feel you have a specific query (module) that they may be able to help you with.
Q: What if I want to join the scheme, or add an additional module, after the start of the EQA year?
A: You can join the scheme at any time during the year, the fees will be pro rata: 75% (3 runs), 50% (2 runs), or 25% (1 run) of the full subscription fee. Contact the Office Manager for any subscription queries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What do I do if I do not stock the requested antibody?
A: We try and select markers which the majority of participants use. If you do not stock an antibody, contact the scheme who will recommend an alternative. Only markers given by the scheme will be eligible for assessment. Please send in a hard copy of your protocols with your slides. If for any reason you do not stock the alternative marker either you will simply not be assessed. There are no penalties for a non-submission in these circumstances.
Q: I received a Green letter (UK Labs only) from the scheme, what does this mean?
A: This is an ‘Offer of Assistance’ letter and is not part of the Poor Performance process. This is to make you aware that you have had a recent failed score in a particular module, and that a subsequent failed slide in the same module, may mean that you will be identified as a Poor Performer. You are not obliged to do anything, but you may wish to contact the scheme, and re-evaluate your protocols to prevent any repeat sub-optimal results.