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I have just been informed that the Royal Mail have extended the deadline to
1 April. Does anyone have confirmation of this?

TIM
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FROM:
Prof. Tim Reynolds,
Prof. of Chemical Pathology, Queen's Hospital, Belvedere Rd.,
Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, DE13 0RB, UK.
fax       +44 (0) 1283 593064
phone  +44 (0) 1283 511511 ext. 4035
email: [log in to unmask]
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-----Original Message-----
From: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>;
[log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Thursday, December 31, 1998 16:06
Subject: Royal Mail regulations - update


>
>Royal Mail regulations for inland postage of infectious substances
>change from 1 January 1999 to comply with IATA regulations (much
>inland post now goes by air), and require UN602 packaging
>(essentially specimen tube inside a tube inside a 'torpedo' inside a
>marked cardboard box; total cost stlg4-stlg5 + stlg1 postage). ALL
DIAGNOSTIC
>SPECIMENS WILL BE CLASSIFIED AS INFECTIOUS SUBSTANCES, and the
>previous regulations for packaging pathological specimens no longer
>apply. The Royal Mail circular of mid-December to all doctors did not
>make this fully clear, but laboratories (and their customers!) need
>to be aware of the regulations - ignoring them may lead to
>prosecution.
>
>The good news is that neither individual Registration of packages nor
>48 hours' notice of shipment are required, and there is a 'transition
>period'. We understand that the regulations are unlikely to be
>enforced fully until April (with a request for extension submitted),
>which is fortunate as there seems to be a shortage of UN602
>containers. At present all diagnostic specimens (INCLUDING those for
>screening etc, which are less restricted under IATA rules) must be
>classified as infectious, though we understand that a committee is
>being formed to consider exemption requests.
>
>What about EQA specimens? Most are tested to the same level as blood
>for transfusion, and these are properly classified as non-infectious
>biological products, which are NOT Dangerous Goods and therefore not
>restricted under UN/IATA rules. Unfortunately the present Royal Mail
>regulations also class these (including pregnancy test kits!) as
>"infectious substances" and require UN602 packaging. UK NEQAS is
>preparing a case for exemption on behalf of all EQASs, with CPA
>support, to avoid this inappropriate wastage of scarce NHS
>resources.
>
>I hope these comments are helpful.
>
>
>Dr David Bullock
>Director, Wolfson EQA Laboratory
>P O Box 3909, Birmingham B15 2UE, U K
>FAX: 0121 414 1179
>Phone: 0121 414 7300
>



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