All established UK NEQAS’s are supported by advice from an appropriate UK NEQAS Steering Committee, accountable to the UK NEQAS Board. The Chairman is normally independent of UK NEQAS operational interests, and membership will include appropriate experts, participants and advisors. Chairmen and members are appointed by the UK NEQAS Board, on the advice of appropriate professionals, and sit in their own right and normally not as representatives of any professional or other group, though some may fulfil an invaluable liaison function with such groups. Steering Committees do not consider the performance of individual participating laboratories, except in advising on performance criteria or where this may indicate a failure in the operation of the Scheme (and even in such cases the laboratories will not be identifiable).
To advise the Scheme Organiser(s) on the overall design and operation of the Scheme(s), including aspects such as:
- appropriateness of the investigations surveyed
- nature of the specimens distributed
- number and frequency of specimen distribution
- source of target values
- data analysis and performance assessment
- data presentation
- communication with participants, including meetings, newsletters, educational activities
- communication with the diagnostics industry
- research and development for the Scheme(s)
- In consultation with the Scheme Organiser, to liaise with the relevant National Quality Assurance Advisory Panel in setting performance criteria.
- To promote harmonisation, in scheme design and practice, with other UK NEQAS’s as appropriate.
- To consider, and advise the Scheme Organiser(s) on, the need for initiation or termination of EQA services for investigations in the area covered.
- To review Schemes’ annual reports.
- To receive any representations, to Chairman, members or Organiser, from participants concerning the Schemes.
- To advise the UK NEQAS Board, and where appropriate other relevant organisations (e.g. Department of Health, Joint Working Group on Quality Assurance, CPA(UK)Ltd, Medical Devices Agency, Royal College of Pathologists), on any aspect of EQA or quality assurance in the area covered
There is a Steering Committee for both the Andrology and Embryology Schemes. They meet twice a year and approve changes in scheme design, including the introduction of new services and cessation of existing services. Their Chair and Deputy Chair are elected by the Steering Committee from its membership. Membership is as follows:
The Andrology Steering Committee (ASC)
- Chair: Allan Pacey Senior Lecturer in Andrology, University of Sheffield
- Deputy Chair: Mrs. Trudy Johnson Chief Biomedical Scientist, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead
- NQAAP Liaison: Mrs. Kathryn Howarth Senior Biomedical Scientist, Airedale Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Clinical Lead: Dr. Raj Mathur Department of Reproductive Medicine, MFT
- Lead Andrologist: Sue Kenworthy, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
- Advanced Biomedical Scientist: Janine Smith, Histopathology Department
- Andrology Supervisor: Stephanie Brooks, Liverpool Womens NHS Foundation Trust
The Embryology Steering Committee (ESC)
- Chair & NQAAP liaison: Dr. Rachel Gregiore Consultant Embryologist, The Hewitt Centre for Reproductive Medicine, Liverpool
- Deputy Chair: Mrs. Ella Mair Advanced Clinical Embryologist, Newcastle Fertility Centre at LIfe
- Senior Clinical Embryologist: Dr. Helen Clark Assisted Conception Unit, Sheffield
- Senior Embryologist: Dr Bryan Woodward IVF Consultancy Service
- Clinical Embryologist: Su Barlow Midland Fertility Services
- Clinical Embryologist: Amy Barrie, IVI Liverpool Cheshire
- Embryologist: Charlene Freeman, Leicester Fertility Centre
- Senior Embryologist: Lucy Richardson, Herts & Essex Fertility Centre