Assuring the highest standard of quality at LNS
The main purpose of the Laboratoire national de santé (LNS) is to develop analytical and scientific expertise related to the prevention, diagnosis and monitoring of human diseases, as well as take on the role of a national control or reference laboratory, and to carry out forensic tasks. LNS is deeply committed to providing exceptional healthcare services all the while prioritising the safety and precision of laboratory testing. If it strives for excellence, the laboratory undergoes rigorous accreditation processes to uphold its reputation as a trusted and reliable healthcare provider for Luxembourg and its population.
Accreditation as quality and safety label
Accreditation is the formal recognition (and mandatory by national law) by an independent entity, generally known as an accreditation body, that an institution operates according to international standards (ISO). For Luxembourg, the Office Luxembourgeois d’Accréditation et de Surveillance (OLAS) assures international safety standards within the country. Accreditation for institutions such as LNS is used to verify that laboratories have an appropriate quality management system and can properly perform certain test methods and calibration parameters according to their scopes of accreditation. The accreditation enables laboratories to produce (patient) results which are reliable and consistent.
Successful accreditation processes across LNS departments
In 2022, LNS achieved significant advancements in its accreditation processes across various departments.
The BAC (Bacterio) service of the LNS Microbiology Department, accredited under ISO/IEC 17025 since 2011 and both ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO 15189 since 2015, made significant efforts in 2022 to expand its accreditation to include molecular biology analysis. The audit for this extension was successfully conducted in December 2022.
Furthermore, the Department’s ISO 15189:2019 accreditation was extended to include additional tests, specifically for SARS-CoV-2 and HIV sequencing. The accreditation audit took place in December 2022, following meticulous preparations. The Microbiology Department achieved a significant milestone by obtaining accreditation for COVID and HIV sequencing. These accreditations were crucial obligations for LNS’s participation in European projects and for being designated as the national reference laboratory for infectious diseases.
Health Protection Department
The Health Protection Department likewise had a number of achievements to report. The Food Monitoring Service expanded its accreditation scope within ISO/IEC 17025:2017. Additionally, the Quality Management System was implemented for the first time in the Hygiène du Milieu et Surveillance Biologique (SUBI) with an audit taking place in December 2021 and the certificate obtained in February 2022.
SUBI underwent a quality transformation to meet the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025. The service obtained its accreditation for several analyses related to indoor air quality and indoor settled dust. Furthermore, the Food Monitoring Service extended its scope to include various tests related to aflatoxins, sweeteners, pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (HAPs), furans, and food colorants.
The LNS Food Monitoring Service acts as a Reference laboratory within the European National laboratories network, covering 14 distinct domains. As part of this network, the unit effectively represents the country within the European community, benefiting from strong connections and collaborations across the continent. This significant role is made possible due to their accreditation, which ensures their compliance with recognised standards and establishes their credibility and competence in the field.
Medical Biology Department
The Medical Biology Department, originally accredited in 2017, underwent a prolongation audit and an accreditation extension for ISO 15189:2012 in October 2022, including the addition of tyrosine, phenylalanine, octonoylcarnitine, and decanoylcarnitine testing on dried blood for newborn screening.
The Ministry of Health (MISA) assigned LNS Medical Biology Department the mission of conducting newborn screenings in Luxembourg. By the year 2024, this mission will be expanded to include the addition of Spinal Muscular Atrophy screening, thereby enhancing the scope and effectiveness of the newborn screening program.
Legal Medicine Department
The Genetic Identification Service (SIG) of the Legal Medicine Department achieved initial accreditation in September 2013, demonstrating adherence to established standards. In October 2022, SIG underwent an accreditation extension, including new areas of focus like biochemical research on human saliva and accurate DNA quantification and qualification using the Quantifiler trio system.
The department’s Analytical Toxicology – Pharmaceutical Chemistry Service (ToxPharma) was accredited in January 2022 for dosage of certain drugs (MDMA, cannabinoids, cocaine, heroin) using HPLC/UV. In October 2022, an extension was obtained after a prolongation audit, expanding testing capabilities. This included cannabis testing in edibles within the domain of Analytical chemistry/biochemistry – food (LAB1) and the technical domain of Cannabinoids (LAB1.11). THC and CBD dosages in plant materials like herbal tea were incorporated using HPLC/UV.
Also, in 2019 the ToxPharma Service obtained ISO/IEC17025 attestation from the EQDM for its medicine control activities. This certification is mandatory as it serves as a foundation to qualify the service as an “Official Medicines Control Laboratory” (OMCL) and gain membership in the General European OMCL Network (GEON).
Commitment to maintaining the highest standards
All these accreditation processes and extensions signify the LNS’s continuous commitment to maintaining the highest standards of quality across its departments and ensuring reliable and accurate laboratory testing for the benefit of public health and safety.
For any patient awaiting results from medical analysis, lab quality and efficiency is key. Our quality credentials and accreditation successes demonstrate our commitment to continuous improvement in this area. The department management and teams take responsibility for making sure our quality approach is reflected in our daily activities.
Chief Quality Officer