Why UKAS Lab Testing Matters – The Synopsis
TL;DR – In this guide we are going to tell you a bit about why some insurers EXPECT you to have UKAS lab level testing when it comes to on-set PCR work. In a nutshell – it shows you have taken it seriously from an insurance point of view. If you have a minute or two more, we will explain, who is UKAS and why their accreditation matters.
Table of Contents
Who is UKAS?
Imagine that cars were not required to have an MOT test, your first thoughts might be great. I will save money and if I forget to do it there is no fear of falling foul of the law.
Now think about that again, imagine if there was no standardisation of what is deemed a roadworthy car. Nothing to ensure the mechanics are doing a competent job, or the peace of mind that after you have passed your test you know you can drive home safely. It is a scary thought.
Unfortunately in laboratory testing, we do not have these legal requirements in place. So when you have a blood test with a lab that is not accredited you need to ask the question, how has the test been validated, is it as accurate as they claim, what protocols do they have in place to ensure my result has not been mixed up, etc.
Everybody would be aware of the consequences of driving around in a car that had not passed its MOT test, and the same risks are run with due diligence and legal action when relying on medical tests from a laboratory that has not been accredited by UKAS.
The history of UKAS
After 1966 The British Calibration Service (BCS) was appointed to approve measurements in Britain to industry and the consumer alike. They re-located the organisation to the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the 1970s.
In 1981 the testing scheme NATLAS (National Testing Laboratory Accreditation Scheme was introduced by NPL, now known as UKAS) to provide accredited certification.
In 1985 BCS and NATLAS merged into the National Measurement Accreditation Service (NAMAS).
In 1995 NAMAS and the National Accreditation Council for Certification Bodies (NACCB) which was operated by BSI merged to form UKAS which together account for over 60 years of experience and expertise in accreditation.
UKAS was set up under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the British Government. This MoU is an agreement between UKAS and the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), which was replaced by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in July 2016. UKAS was appointed as the National Accreditation Body (NAB) by The Accreditation Regulations, 2009. It conforms to the EU Legislative Framework – Regulation EC 765/2008.
In 2010 UKAS acquired the CPA (Clinical Pathology Accreditation) from the Royal Colleges.
It started ISAS (Imaging Services Accreditation Scheme) for the Royal College of Radiologists and the College of Radiographers.
In 2012, UKAS was appointed to deliver the IQIPS (Improving Quality In Physiological Services) Programme hosted by the Royal College of Physicians with support from the Department of Health.
UKAS continues to grow and is now recognised as a leader in the area of accreditation.
UKAS stands for the United Kingdom Accreditation Service. They have been chosen by the government to be the only agency authorised to assess the ability and competence of organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection, and calibration services.
UKAS is the sole national accreditation body for the United Kingdom. UKAS is recognised by government, to assess against internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection, and calibration services.
What is UKAS accreditation?
Accreditation by UKAS demonstrates the competence, impartiality, and performance capability of these evaluators. In short, UKAS ‘checks the checkers’.
Achieving UKAS accreditation is a long and arduous process for certification bodies. They undergo thorough head office reviews that delve into management, policies, and procedures, alongside a test of competence.
What does UKAS accreditation mean for a laboratory?
UKAS accredits medical laboratories against the international standard ISO 15189: 2012, which specifies the global requirements for quality and competence. UKAS accreditation provides reassurance to patients, and healthcare providers of the quality of a diagnostic service and testing and ensures the accuracy of over 800m pathology tests per year.
Why should I care about a UKAS Lab?
An accredited laboratory or UKAS lab, means they have the appropriate facilities in which to carry out the testing
Using an accredited test laboratory ensures that reliable measurements and tests are carried out and in compliance with the appropriate test standards
Using an accredited laboratory to carry out an independent evaluation helps demonstrate due diligence in the event of legal action