UK NEQAS for Trace Elements

Who we are

The UK NEQAS for Trace Elements external quality assessment scheme operates from Guildford, Surrey in the United Kingdom from purpose built laboratories on the Surrey Research Park. The Scheme is managed and administered by staff employed by Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The scheme is part of Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Services (BSPS), the overarching organisation that manages the various individual pathology departments that operate across the Foundation Trusts involved in the BSPS partnership: Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust.

What we do

UK NEQAS for Trace Elements is a UKAS ISO 17043:2010 accredited proficiency testing provider, UKAS No. 7496, offering programs in serum, whole blood and urine. Samples are spiked with various concentrations of trace elements covering clinically relevant ranges. The scheme analytes includes Serum trace elements (Aluminium, chromium, cobalt, copper, selenium, zinc), Whole blood trace elements (Arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, magnesium, manganese, mercury, selenium, thallium, zinc) and Urine trace elements (Arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, manganese, mercury, nickel, selenium, thallium, zinc).

We also operate two additional schemes which are for educational purposes only and are not accredited to ISO17043; these are the Al in water and dialysis fluid scheme, and the Solid Matrix scheme. The latter of which is primarily to challenge measurements of Cu and Fe in liver biopsy specimens. Further details are shown here.

UK NEQAS for Trace Elements works in partnership with the Supra-Regional Assay Service Trace Element Laboratory. SAS Trace Elements specialises in the measurement and interpretation of trace elements in clinical samples from patients throughout the UK.  This includes but is not limited to the determination of copper, zinc and selenium for nutritional investigations; cobalt and chromium in patients with metal-on-metal hip replacements; lead, mercury, arsenic and other toxic elements in occupational and toxicological studies.  The laboratory has the facilities for the measurement of a wide range of other trace elements in blood, serum, urine, tissue biopsy, hair and nail samples using modern ICP-MS.