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Proficiency testing in analytical chemistry, microbiology and laboratory medicine: discussions on current practice and future directions


A summary of the working group discussions on proficiency testing (PT) and external quality assessment (EQA) held at the Eurachem Workshop, Portorož, Slovenia, 9–12 October 2017, is provided. The working groups covered a range of issues concerned with current practice and future directions; the importance of interpretative PT/EQA schemes; changes to PT/EQA schemes in developing countries over the last 10 years; implementing ISO/IEC 17043 for sampling PT/EQA schemes; traditional versus virtual PT/EQA items; experience of the implementation of EA-4/18; and use and treatment of measurement uncertainty in PT/EQA schemes. Delegates from fifty-two countries attended the workshop, and this diversity of different backgrounds was represented on each of the working groups to capture a range of views and experience from a number of different measurement sectors. Working group representatives included PT/EQA providers, participants in PT/EQA schemes, end users of PT/EQA results such as accreditation bodies and regulatory authorities, national measurement institutes, laboratory associations, suppliers, universities and independent consultants from countries around the world.

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The authors (who were convenors of the working groups) would like to thank all the attendees at the working groups. The views put forward during the working group discussions which are summarised in this paper do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the authors or their affiliations.

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Correspondence to Brian Brookman.

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Papers published in this section do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Editors, the Editorial Board and the Publisher. A critical and constructive debate in the Discussion Forum or a Letter to the Editor is strongly encouraged!

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Brookman, B., Butler, O., Ciaralli, L. et al. Proficiency testing in analytical chemistry, microbiology and laboratory medicine: discussions on current practice and future directions. Accred Qual Assur 24, 93–101 (2019).

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  • Proficiency testing
  • External quality assessment
  • Performance evaluation
  • Quality assurance
  • Quality control
  • Measurement uncertainty