COVID-19 Response

Distribution Schedule 2020 –Updated 17/06/2020

(*indicates changes from original dates published).

Clinical Chemistry 20 Jan; 11 Feb*; 2 Mar; 31 Mar; 5 May; 2 Jun; 6 Jul; 4 Aug; 7 Sep; 5 Oct; 2 Nov; 1 Dec

FBC/Blood Cell Morphology 3 Feb; 27 Apr*; 29 Jun*; 25 Aug*; 12 Oct*; 30 Nov* (A Fresh donor blood survey is planned for the Oct distribution)

HbA1c 13 Jan; 26 May*; 21 Jul*; 1 Sept*; 27 Oct (dates may change; dependent on donor availability)

Note: 5 HbA1c distributions in 2020

NCCP Tumour Markers TBA


COVID-19 Response update 17/06/2020:

Like everywhere else, the COVID-19 brought about some changes for IEQAS. We have been working from home but will be returning to the office at the end of June. We’ve had to postpone some of our schemes but are glad to say that we getting back on track and with a reshuffle of our distribution schedule, we will be able to send out all distributions for all schemes by the end of 2020.


Some other changes were made including the updating of our software so that participants are able to print result sheets for open schemes from our website and extending closing dates to allow time to analyse the samples despite changes to working schedules in labs. We will be reverting back to normal time allowed for analysis of samples from the end of June. If you do need extra time, please email us at to let us know and we will facilitate you as much as possible.


IEQAS schemes:

The effect of the COVID-19 crisis on the IEQAS samples varied and mostly depended on the type of sample used in each of our National schemes. We were able to keep to our schedule for our Clinical Chemistry scheme, by sending out lyophilised samples, which participants stored until needed. We will include some pooled residual samples in the remaining distributions this year.


The Fresh Blood Survey for the FBC scheme, which was due to carried out in March was postponed but we are planning to carry it out for the October distribution. The BCM scheme samples are sent out at the same time as the FBC scheme.


Because of the fresh nature of the HbA1c scheme samples, we had to postpone the distribution at the end of March. The rescheduled distribution took place at the end of May and we were delighted with the response particularly from the POCT (NPT) sites.


The IEQAS distribution schedule has now been updated for the remainder of 2020.



Labquality Schemes:

Our EQA partners Labquality, have managed to maintain their enormous EQA sample distribution during the crisis. They send samples all over Europe and the Middle East, so they have truly encountered the COVID-19 crisis on a global scale. Some EQA samples posted from Labquality in Finland, have been experiencing delayed delivery recently, due to circumstances beyond their control. Labquality when notified, have extended due dates to accommodate this and/or have sent replacement samples, if time and availability of samples allow.


Labquality Information Letter : Sample delivery delays


Labquality send emails to notify you that samples are being sent out. Please let IEQAS know if your samples have not arrived 10 days before the closing date, and we will, when possible, organise repeat samples to be sent to you. To make sure the email notification is going to the right person in your lab, log onto the LabScala to check the registered email address for your scheme and adjust, if needs be.


Labquality have developed two COVID-19 EQA schemes for molecular diagnostics and serological testing. There is a pilot scheme on-going at present and the general schemes will begin in September. Please contact IEQAS if you are interested in joining these schemes.



Thank you and well done to all our friends and colleagues in the labs and POCT sites around Ireland for your ongoing commitment to making sure that quality standards are maintained even during an international pandemic.