Audit of internal quality control practice and processes in the south-east of England and suggested regional standards

Ann Clin Biochem 2008;45:135-139
© 2008 Association for Clinical Biochemistry


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Original Article

David Housley 1 * ,
Edward Kearney 2,
Emma English 3,
Natalie Smith 1,
Teresa Teal 4 *,
Janina Mazurkiewicz 4 * and
Danielle B Freedman 1

1 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Luton & Dunstable Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Lewsey Road, Luton LU4 0DZ, UK;
2 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital, East Kent Hopsitals NHS Trust, St Peter’s Road, Margate, Kent CT94AN, UK;
3 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Addenbrooke’s Hospital NHS Trust, Box 232, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QQ, UK;
4 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Eastbourne District General Hospital, Kings Drive, Eastbourne, East Sussex BN21 2UD, UK

Corresponding author: Dr David Housley. Email: David.Housley{at}

Background: Internal quality control (IQC) has a long and well-establishedrole in clinical biochemistry laboratories. However, despitethe duration of use, and the publication of several articlesdetailing best practice, the implementation and use of IQC varysignificantly between institutions. Consequently, the NorthThames Audit and Quality Assurance Group undertook a region-wideaudit of current IQC practice in 2006.

Methods: On aspects of IQC testing, interpretation and laboratory processes,54 laboratories in the region were audited.

Results: Audit data showed significant variability in all aspects ofpractice, including IQC frequency, use of appropriate material,statistical processing and grades of staff involved.

Conclusions: Some of the variation in practice may affect the effectivenessof laboratory IQC, and thus the adequacy of a laboratory tomonitor system performance. Consequently, a set of proposedregional standards have been developed and disseminated, priorto re-audit at a future date.

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