IMIM - Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques

Modalities of participation

A consensus¹ exists amongst national and international quality standards stating that the minimum number of annual shipments of control materials for analysis must be at least four in order for the external quality control programme to be efficient.

There are two types or modalities of participation in the PCQ according to the aforementioned categorization of participating laboratories. The characteristics of each form of participation are described as follows.

MODALITY A

For laboratories performing screening analyses for groups of substances using, in general, immunological analytical methods. This modality offers the following frequency of sample shipments: number of shipments per year: 4; number of samples per shipment: 6.

Delivery of the report of results: the report including results is sent within a period of about 30 days after the day when samples were shipped out, so that the appropriate corrective measures can be implemented in the shortest period of time possible. The list of substances is: opiates, amphetamines (including designer drugs), benzodiazepines, cannabinoids, methadone, cocaine, dextropropoxyphene, buprenorphine, LSD, barbiturates.

*Please see Section "List of Substances and the corresponding minimum concentrations that can be found in control samples".

Evaluation of results: qualitative (false negatives and false positives) by groups of substances and by analytical technique. The annual cost to register in PCQ for year 2016: 1.132 € (+21% IVA).

MODALITY B

For laboratories performing screening, identification and, in some instances, quantification analysis of substances. This modality offers the following frequency of sample shipments: number of shipments per year: 4;  number of samples per shipment: 6.

Delivery of the report of results: the individual qualitative report of results is sent within a period of about 60 days after the day when samples were shipped out, so that the appropriate corrective measures can be implemented in the shortest period of time possible. The list of substances is :opiates, (morphine, codeine, morphine-3-glucuronide, codeine-6-glucuronide, 6-monoacetylmorphine and related compounds) amphetamines (amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDMA, MDA) benzodiazepines (nordiazepam, oxazepam, 7-aminoflunitrazepam) cannabinoids (11-nor-9-COOH-Δ9-THC) methadone (methadone, EDDP) cocaine (benzoylecgonine, ecgonine methylester) dextropropoxyphene (dextropropoxyphene, norpropoxyphene) LSD (LSD) buprenorphine (buprenorphine), barbiturates (secobarbital)

*Please see Section "List of Substances and the corresponding minimum concentrations that can be found in control samples".

Evaluation of results: qualitative (false negatives and false positives) by groups of substances, by specific substances and by analytical technique. A quantitative assessment of the results is carried out, which will be presented in the overall six-monthly report. Annual cost to register in PCQ for year 2015: 1.618 € (+21% IVA). See calendar for year 2016.

References
  • ILAC-G13:2000. Guidelines for the Requirements for the Competence of Providers of Proficiency Testing Schemes.
  • ISO/IEC Guide 43, Part 1 and 2 (1997): Proficiency testing by interlaboratory comparisons.
    • Part 1- Development and operation of proficiency testing schemes.
    • Part 2- Selection and use of proficiency testing schemes by laboratory accreditation bodies.
  • Proficiency testing of analytical laboratories: organisation and statistical assessment. Royal Society of Chemistry. Analyst, January 1992, Vol. 117.

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