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The Point of Care Testing (POCT) Policy used by Homerton University Hospital describes the scope and responsibilities of the Trust, POCT Coordinator and POCT Operators (users of point of care testing devices or kits) in the implementation and daily use of POCT devices. This includes the requirements, training and awareness, review, monitoring and audit.

A proposal form, which sets out the governance and full resource implications of introducing a POCT device, must be completed and submitted to the POCT Committee before a device is purchased. The form also details associated costs which are often overlooked, such as external quality assurance registration and IT licences.

The policy is central to our governance structure for POCT.

Contact us at POCT@homerton.nhs.uk for further advice when considering a new POCT service. 

Point of Care Testing

Point of Care Testing is an established part of clinical practice offering, in many instances, the rapid and convenient provision of test results that can be of benefit to the patient.  It is, however, a significant Risk Management issue for the Trust.  Results obtained by non-specialist staff carry as much weight in patient management as results from sophisticated equipment in the care of professional laboratory staff.  Incorrect results have the same health and legal implications, whatever their origin.

Guidelines and / or standards for POCT have been issued by a number of organisations to ensure patient safety and quality of POCT is assured:

  • The Department of Health following patient deaths, issued Hazard Notice (1989) to all Clinical providers of POCT, recommending Pathology involvement in managing POCT.
  • The Joint Working Group on Quality Assurance (JWGQA) has published guidelines, updated in January 1999, for the implementation of POCT, covering procurement, quality control and assurance, health and safety, risk management, user training, equipment maintenance and clinical liaison: Near to patient or Point of Care Testing Guidelines issued by the Joint Working Group on Quality Assurance to assist Health Service managers and staff in the procurement, installation use and monitoring of devices suitable for performing tests on blood, urine and stools (2000).
  • UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service), UKAS provides accreditation to the internationally recognised standard ISO 15189:2012 Medical Laboratories – requirements for quality and competence and ISO 22870:2006 (Point of Care Testing: particular requirements for quality and competence), applied in conjunction with ISO 15189:2012 (Medical Laboratories: particular requirements for quality and competence).
  • The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (formerly The Medical Devices Agency), after professional consultation, has issued guidance on the management of POCT: Management and use of IVD point of care test devices (December 2013). 

The POCT policy has been designed to ensure that POCT at HUHFT complies with all such advice and guidance.

Last updated: 20 July 2017