The new Test Labs infection prevention research and test laboratory in Peterborough, which opened officially in January 2021, has achieved prestigious UKAS accreditation in less than twelve months, one of the fastest awards in the history of the accreditation body.
Parent company Inivos created the facility after the COVID pandemic redirected government and commercial laboratories’ focus which stretched their capacity. Inivos still needed to validate the effectiveness of new products and services to continue supporting healthcare with emerging challenges such as the development of a single use Personal Protective Equipment disinfection process.
Test Labs acquired the site in March 2020 and first approached UKAS in November. UKAS carried out a pre-assessment of the facility in April this year, followed by an initial assessment against six different EN standards under the ISO 17025 Quality Management System in July. Test Labs submitted final documentation to assessors in August with UKAS confirming final accreditation on October 11th, just 11 months after the agreement to go ahead with accreditation.
The laboratory will focus on testing and researching questions around infection prevention and control with a particular focus on the healthcare environment. Its aim is to reassure healthcare providers that their medical devices meet the required standards and can sustain exposure to cleaning materials over the course of their lifetimes to remove harmful microorganisms that cause healthcare acquired infections (HAIs), including the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen which causes COVID-19.
Test Labs offers HALT testing, efficacy testing and material compatibility testing. It also works with healthcare facilities and manufacturers of equipment used within them to develop best-practice cleaning protocols. Its HALT testing exposes materials, devices or entire systems to the most commonly-used cleaning and decontamination technologies, in order to assess how they would perform in real-world settings and to determine whether they are suitable for use in a healthcare environment. Its material compatibility testing processes samples of a material to assess changes in its physical properties.
Tautvydas Karitonas, Head of Research and Development at Inivos, said, “Achieving UKAS accreditation in such a short time and against the odds in difficult circumstances, was a tremendous achievement. It will give our NHS and healthcare customers reassurance of the effectiveness of Inivos products and other devices.
“The achievement is a perfect reflection of the Inivos ethos, a determination to support the delivery of better, faster healthcare and to apply this across the NHS.”
UKAS Assessment Manager, Paula Catchpole had the following comments on Test Labs’ speedy route to accreditation:
“Inivos, trading as Test Labs, have worked hard to create and implement a management system and to achieve their grant of accreditation within a short timeframe. The laboratory is a brand new facility and the speed in which the laboratory environment was purposed to be suitable for accredited activities was impressive.
It is great that emerging technologies are being harnessed to fight the spread of infection, and that accreditation is able to underpin quality in these technologies, ensuring competence, safety and reliability of data. It has been interesting to work with them on their journey to accreditation am happy to continue to work with them into the future.”
Test Labs intend to continue with microbiology accreditation and go into the material sciences. With the NHS planning to build 40 new hospitals over the next 10 years, there’s a clear need for robust data acquired through accredited tests, informing decisions to allow technology to be harnessed as part of the arsenal of weapons against infections.
Contact the Test Labs team
Call Test Labs on 0845 270 6690 or email one of our team directly.