Testers move in testing times

by | Mar 28, 2019 | blog

COVID and continued success have led to a move for one of the UK’s leading pathology organisations.

UK NEQAS Cellular Pathology Technique (CPT) provides worldwide external quality assessment (EQA) and proficiency testing for all aspects of tissue diagnostics. The not-for-profit organisation was based in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead since 2011, but the hospital’s need for more space in the Covid pandemic prompted a move to the newly-opened Haylofts business centre in Newcastle’s Haymarket.

Chantell Hodgson, Scheme Manager for UK NEQAS CPT, explained: “We had been thinking about acquiring additional space because we’re growing so quickly, but Covid accelerated our relocation. Our core team of eight has taken over the top floor of Haylofts.”

UK NEQAS CPT carries out quality assessment for laboratories and organisations across the UK, Europe and further afield and has a roster of about 150 expert peer assessors around the world.

“We’re like an ‘Ofsted’ for laboratories. We provide a range of accredited EQA and proficiency testing programmes for all aspects of tissue diagnostics. We do this through a secure and established set of Schemes for both clinical and non-clinical laboratories and organisations in the UK and across the globe,” said Chantell.

“Our aim is to ensure our participants receive high quality, appropriate, clinically-relevant samples that fully meet their facility’s requirements; and that our assessment of those samples is consistent and carried out by qualified assessors.

“The laboratories carry out a test and then send their results to us physically as a slide or digitally via submission to our website. We then assess their results and give them a score out of ten. We continually monitor a laboratory’s performance and if they fall behind a set threshold, we inform appropriate governing bodies,” explained Chantell, a biomedical scientist, who has been Scheme Manager since 2011.

UK NEQAS CPT was established in 1991 when a group of regional EQA services, operating between laboratories and hospitals across the UK, came together to create one organisation. It now provides EQA/PT services for more than 1,000 international laboratories and organisations across the UK and 50 other countries.

As well as its testing capabilities, UK NEQAS CPT also provides education services, training bio-medical scientists, trainees and support workers through workshops and webinars, regular meetings and conferences, publications and feedback.

When it was originally launched, the organisation carried out tests across four schemes – it now covers 12 schemes with another two in the pipeline.

“We’re certainly a growing organisation, which is one of the reasons why we needed to look at alternative premises. We looked at offices across Tyneside, but Haylofts ticked all our boxes. It couldn’t be more central, which was important to us as we have many external visitors. There’s also plenty of room, the new offices have a very high spec and the broadband speeds are very impressive,” said Chantell.

Haylofts provides innovative office space in the old Newcastle Brewery stables on St Thomas Street, adjacent to Haymarket travel interchange. The renovated space has 22 offices, seven meeting rooms, a lecture space for 80 and broadband speeds of up to 100Gbps, a first for business centres in Newcastle.

Horse-theme branding for Haylofts has been provided by renowned North-East street artist Pete Manning, aka Prefab77, who has created exclusive, bespoke equine wall art for the centre.

If you’re interested in an office or space at Haylofts, or would like a tour, email laura.goldston@hyhubs.com