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Quality and accuracy of Medichecks' results

At Medichecks, we're often asked how we know that our partner laboratory (lab) results are legit and accurate? 

NHS laboratories and private laboratories are inspected to ensure the quality of their results. Our partner labs are UKAS accredited, which means they provide evidence that they produce true and accurate results.

What can I give my doctor to show the accuracy of my results?

We offer our customers extra information, should they need it, to show their doctor or consultant. This may be helpful if the doctor is unfamiliar with Medichecks or our partner labs.

Our partner UKAS accredited labs provide validated results for us to upload to your online portal, along with comments and advice from one of our in-house GMC-registered doctors. You can give these results in confidence to your GP or doctor. 

What is UKAS?

Most laboratories in the UK voluntarily subscribe to UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Services), the sole national accreditation body for the UK recognised by the government. 

UKAS assesses all the enrolled laboratories against internationally agreed standards, from sample receipt to analysis and reporting. 

It also assesses all staff competencies, including:
· Training
· Continuing professional development 
· Daily responsibility and ability in the laboratory 

External quality assessment schemes

UKAS assesses the performance of the laboratory in registered external quality assessment schemes, such as NEQAS. NEQAS is where laboratories receive samples to analyse, and the results must be returned and compared to the rest of the labs in the country. 

Accreditation status

Any failure in any aspect of a UKAS inspection, which can last many days (sometimes up to 15 days with numerous expert inspectors), can lead to suspension of the accreditation status. 

All laboratories undergo a multi-day inspection every four years, with additional annual surveillance inspections. During the year, the laboratory also participates in internal quality control daily. 

Internal quality control includes analysing artificial samples with known values. If these quality control results fail, then samples cannot be analysed until the errors are corrected.
 
All labs subscribe to NEQAS for monthly or more frequent external samples checks to ensure that results are correct.

Which labs does Medichecks use?

Medichecks uses two well-known private laboratories within the UK for analysing blood samples. 

Our quality and management teams visit these laboratories to ensure that all their policies and procedures conform to the very high standards that we require. 

Both laboratories are UKAS accredited and have undergone the same stringent inspections as those carried out by UKAS across all NHS laboratories. 

All UKAS accredited labs and tests are published on the UKAS website. This ensures transparency on which laboratories are accredited and which are suspended and require improvements. Labs that do not register for accreditation will not appear on these lists. 

Most NHS labs, researchers and private labs will not use unaccredited labs for any testing unless they have very rigorous evidence that the results they produce are correct. The unaccredited labs used are usually based in Europe and have accreditation in their own country. They may offer rare and unusual tests that are not routinely offered within the UK.

Mistakes do happen very rarely in labs. If you are concerned about this, please talk to our customer services team, who will be more than happy to investigate any doubt about the accuracy of a result for you. 

Written by:

Dr Peter Prinsloo MBChB FRCP, FRCPath - Consultant Chemical Pathologist and physician with patient responsibility in an NHS Teaching and University hospital.

"I am chair of the Medichecks Clinical Governance Committee, leading the clinical inspection team and reporting on numerous blood test results for Medichecks every week.

"Outside of Medichecks, I am an active fellow of both the Royal College of Pathologists and the Royal College of Physicians, and I am an examiner for the final clinical exams (PACES). As the head of service (Laboratory Director) of a very large combined Chemistry, Haematology, and Immunology laboratory at my NHS Trust, reporting accurate and correct results is of the utmost importance to me."