CITIZENS will continue to benefit from high standards of service with the certification of 10 laboratories by the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS).A laboratory certification is the process by which a third party gives written assurance and recognition that a laboratory is conforming to specified requirements.
Eight medical laboratories and two non–medical ones were certified in keeping with the National Laboratory Standard GYS 170, which is the general requirement for the operation of a laboratory.
The eight medical labs that have been certified are those from the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Woodlands Hospital, Dr. Balwant Singh Hospital, Eureka Labs, Medical Arts Centre, St Joseph Mercy Hospital, Georgetown Medical Centre Inc., and Quest Medical Laboratory.
The other two are the Guyana Rice Development Board’s (GRDB) Central Laboratory and the Kaizen Environmental Services.
GNBS Public Relations Officer (PRO), Lloyd David, said the national standard allows labs to develop a comprehensive management system, which will enable them to issue accurate, reliable and consistent test results, while the certification allows the laboratories to determine whether they are performing their work correctly and to the appropriate standards.
David added that, “The laboratories can further be accredited to international standards. He explained that other countries can send samples to Guyana to be tested, noting that the results will be internationally recognised.”
David further said that labs are re-evaluated periodically by the GNBS to ensure that there is continual compliance with the requirements, and that they are maintaining standard operating practices.
He noted that labs are required to participate in the relevant proficiency-testing programmes between re-assessments, as a further demonstration of technical performance.
The PRO told the Government Information Agency (GINA), that if the labs are not upkeeping the standards, upon inspection, they will be given time to make the necessary adjustments and if they do not make those changes after a certain period of time, their certificates can be revoked.
David pointed out that there are a lot more laboratories in the country that need to be certified and encouraged them to do so. He noted that it will not be an easy task or process, but once the process is completed, it will give the labs a boost in business and citizens will enjoy and receive a high standard of service.
The GYS 170 Standard is divided into three main sections- Management, Safety and Technical Requirements. The management section provides management requirements necessary for the lab to operate efficiently. Some of the key elements within this section include: management systems, organisation, complaints, and internal audits among others.
Under safety requirements, a lab is obligated to implement basic safety policies and procedures to ensure that its environment is safe for all.
The technical requirements are necessary for demonstrating the technical competence of the laboratory.
These will enable the lab to perform tests that are recognised and produce accurate, reliable and consistent test results. Some of the key elements in this section that help the laboratory to efficiently monitor and manage, include: personnel, equipment, test methods and method validation, and internal audits among others.
The GNBS was established in March 1984 under the Act No. 11 of Parliament of the same year. The bureau has the legal status of a statutory corporation or a semi -autonomous agency. It is governed by a National Standards Council, whose members are appointed by the subject minister.
Its vision is to improve the quality of goods and services in Guyana, by partnering with Government, consumers and industry through the process of standardisation, while its mission is to promote the National Quality Infrastructure for economic, social development and consumer protection in partnership with key sectors through standards, metrology and conformity assessment.