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PROFICIENCY TESTING & INTERLABORATORY COMPARISONS


As it is stated in TS EN ISO/IEC 17025 standard and relevant ILAC and EA guidelines Proficiency Testing (PT) and Interlaboratory Comparisons are very important tools concerning the quality assurance of the testing results.


Used appropriately, they can bring significant benefits to laboratories. The primary aim of PT is to provide the infrastructure for a laboratory to monitor and improve the quality of its routine measurements. PT is the only quality measure which is specifically concerned with a laboratory’s outputs. Using the results from PT is therefore of particular value to a laboratory to identify any problems with other aspects of its quality system, e.g., input measures such as staff training and method validation.


 

PT is treated as important performance criteria regarding the evaluation of the technical competence of the laboratories. Laboratories applied for accreditation should participate to Proficiency Testing programme or/and interlaboratory comparison for the main and sub disciplines they demand for accreditation and should submit satisfactory results according to defined criterias TURKAK P704 - The Procedure For Proficiency Tests and Interlaboratory Comparison Programs .

PROFICIENCY TESTING QUALITY

Given the importance of PT in the quality assurance system of a laboratory it is very important that the PT providers can demonstrate the quality of their PT programmes. There are two important international guides to which PT providers can demonstrate the quality of their PT programmes:

  • ISO/IEC 17043: Conformity assessment -- General requirements for proficiency testing
  • ILAC G13: Guidelines for the Requirements for the Competence of Providers of Proficiency Testing Schemes

The PT programmes of many PT providers around the world are now accredited by their national accreditation bodies, normally against the above documents. However, not all countries are ready to accredit PT providers, and not all PT providers wish to be accredited. In order to reflect this situation, and to help laboratories look at the quality of all PT schemes, information on quality criteria for PT schemes is given on the EPTIS database.

 

SELECTING A PROFICIENCY TEST FOR PARTICIPATION

Proficiency Testing programmes are operated by a variety of organizations within Europe and the rest of the world. Many PT programmes are international.

The EPTIS website provides a comprehensive on-line database of available PT programmes. In addition the website provides other additional information on proficiency testing. In selecting the most appropriate PT it is important to consider a number of issues in order to judge its suitability for your purpose. EURACHEM has published a document called A Guide to the Selection, Use and Interpretation of PT Schemes which will give appropriate background for your selection criteria.

The contact information of national and international PT providers are given at TURKAK website.

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