News from the EFI Committee for External Proficiency Testing

The EFI Committee for External Proficiency Testing (EFI EPTC) is contacting all EFI accredited labs with an important issue related to EPT in H&I in the current difficult situation. As you may be aware, some Providers of external quality control schemes have postponed or even completely stopped the shipment of EPT samples.

The EPT Providers who have currently stopped sending samples will start shipping EPT samples as soon as reasonably possible, but some complete EPT cycles in their usual form may not be possible this year.

After evaluation of the situation in the different EFI Regions, the EFI EPTC gives the following recommendations for EFI Commissioners, EFI laboratories and EPT scheme Providers in H&I:

  1. The EFI Accreditation Program will allow fewer samples in this exceptional year for labs that are not able to fulfil all EPT sample testing. The EFI EPTC recommends accepting a minimum of 50% of samples for each scheme. Labs are requested to document if less EPT samples are tested and the reason(s) e.g. EPT provider suspension, sample transport issues, etc.
  2. Labs are encouraged to organise inter-lab exchanges according to the guidance documents available in the EPT section of the EFI website, in those rare cases where labs cannot receive any samples.
  3. If inter-lab exchanges are impossible to organise, labs should approach their regional EFI Commissioner to discuss additional measures the lab may need to take for quality control monitoring.
  4. EPT scheme Providers should consider making reasonable adjustments to their schemes to allow participants flexibility in testing EPT samples. This may include extending EPT result deadlines, sending different numbers of samples or altering planned shipment dates, provided the changes do not adversely impact the EPT scheme. EPT Providers may also consider extending the EPT period for this year if appropriate. An extension of two or three months in 2021 is thought to be sufficient, if required by participant labs.  

If any additional information is required, please contact the EFI EPTC chairpersons or your regional representative within the Committee.

We appreciate your understanding and we wish you all good health during these difficult times!

Falko Heinemann and Yvonne Zoet (chair and co-chair of the EFI EPTC)