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National Quality Assurance Advisory Panel (NQAAP) for Reproductive Science


The NQAAPs are professional groups which have executive responsibility for maintaining satisfactory standards of analytical and interpretative work in laboratories in the UK, whether in the private or in the public sector, in which investigations are performed for the detection, diagnosis or management of disease in humans. The Royal College of Pathologists, the Institute of Biomedical Science and two or three other appropriate professional bodies each nominate one member, who normally serve for four years. The Chairperson of each of the Panels reports to the Joint Working Group on Quality Assurance.

The Panels work closely with the Organisers of the relevant UK NEQAS and other approved EQA schemes, who bring to their attention laboratories whose performance and/or frequency of returns are judged unsatisfactory by criteria agreed by the Panels with the appropriate Steering Committee. At this stage the Panels identify the laboratory only by code. A Panel reviews information provided by the Organiser and if it decides to intervene in the case of a particular laboratory, the Chairman writes a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter, which is forwarded to the laboratory by the Organiser. This asks about problems which have been identified and remedial action taken and offers to provide help and advice. Recipients are assured of the professional relationship which exists between the Panel and participants and are invited to disclose their identity when they reply. If a participant remains anonymous, choosing not to disclose their identity to the Panel Chairman, and the poor performance continues, the Panel Chairman will then ask the Organiser for the address of the laboratory. The Panel Chairman will then communicate directly with the Head of Department.

The NQAAP for Reproductive Science meets twice a year. Its membership is as follows:

Dr Bryan Woodward, Representative of the Royal College of Pathologists

Chair Elect

Kathryn Howarth, Representative of the Institute of Biomedical Science

Dr Jackson Kirkman Brown MBE, Representative of the British Andrology Society

Dr Rachel Gregoire, Representative of  the Association of Clinical Embryologists

Joanne Adams, Representative of the Association of Biomedical Andrologists

Uma Gordon, Representative of the British Fertility Society

Joint Working Group for Quality Assurance

The Joint Working Group for Quality Assurance  in Pathology (JWG) is a multidisciplinary group accountable to the Royal College of Pathologists for the oversight of performance in External Quality Assurance schemes (EQA) in the UK. This is achieved via discipline specific panels (NQAAP) which report to the Joint Working Group. In turn, the JWG will work with failing laboratories, but it is also bound to report persistent poor performance to the Care Quality Commission.