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Understanding Laboratory Accreditations

Published: 24th September 2021

At Lextox, we understand that you have a choice when selecting which drug and alcohol testing laboratory to use for your family law case. An important consideration to bear in mind is whether a laboratory and the services you are requesting are accredited.   

In this blog, we take a look at the importance of using an accredited laboratory, the difference between accreditations and how to check whether a laboratory is accredited.

Importance of Accreditation

A United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accreditation demonstrates a laboratory’s competency in testing to ensure reliability of the analysis results and delivers confidence in the service of the testing laboratory.

UKAS is the sole national accreditation body recognised by government to assess, against internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services.

The Difference in Accreditation Standards

You may notice different accreditation numbers on testing laboratory’s websites, the most common are ISO 17025 and 9001.

ISO 17025 – The ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation is the international reference standard for ensuring the competence of testing and calibration laboratories around the world. This standard requires laboratories to implement a sound quality management system and to demonstrate that they are technically competent and able to produce valid and reliable results. The accreditation is the ultimate mark of quality and accuracy of analysis results and it is that standard hair drug and alcohol testing laboratories should be accredited against.

ISO 9001 – This ISO standard is more of a quality management accreditation. Whereas ISO 17025 is specific to testing laboratories, ISO 9001 is not specific to laboratories. It can be used by any organisation, large or small, regardless of its field of activity. This standard is based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement.

How to Check a Laboratory’s Accreditation

Lextox’s UKAS symbol and laboratory number

Organisations accredited to any UKAS standard can benefit from visually identifying their status through the use of national accreditation symbols.

You will be able to identify a UKAS accredited laboratory by locating the UKAS logo, which can be displayed alongside their laboratory accreditation number.

Accredited laboratories need to have a clear statement/disclaimer that shows the extent and limitations of the accreditation held and the services/analysis this covers. An easy way to understand this is to link to the UKAS schedule of accreditation. This will allow you to clearly see the accreditations a laboratory has and what tests fall under that accreditation. 

It is important to note that the laboratory may outsource some of its services to another accredited partner. In this instance, the laboratory is required to advise the client of this in advance.

Lextox’s Accreditations

Lextox is accredited to test for a wide range of drugs in hair and was, at the time, the first independent UK owned laboratory to attain ISO 17025 UKAS accreditation (No. 7516) for hair alcohol testing. Lextox works to right-first-time quality assurance procedures to minimise delays and ensure reliability.

You can view our Schedule of Accreditation here and understand more about the importance of UKAS accreditation by visiting www.ukas.com.

For more information on the services Lextox provides, speak to our team by calling 02920 484 141 or by emailing experts@lextox.co.uk.

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