The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority forensic laboratory has been internationally accredited for its toxicology testing.
According to the HSA, this makes Cayman the first English-speaking island in the Caribbean to receive this level of recognition.
Authority forensic scientist Alan Glasgow said a rigorous examination of the forensic laboratory by US-based Forensic Quality Service auditors led to the accreditation.
“Here at the forensic laboratory, we have always upheld the highest level of standards,” he said. “We are pleased that the laboratory passed with excellent grading and had no major non-conformance marks.”
The Forensic Quality Service is the longest established provider of accreditation to forensic testing agencies in the US. The HSA forensic lab received the highest level of international accreditation that can be obtained.
The lab was subjected to a random review and a full audit of case studies by a team of experienced forensic scientists. To retain the accreditation, the auditors must have annual access to the HSA’s forensic laboratory as routine maintenance.
Mr. Glasgow said that the forensic laboratory is required for different types of analysis, including forensic DNA and paternity testing at the HSA. “This means patients can go directly to the laboratory for confidential testing,” he said.
Lizzette Yearwood, chief executive officer at the HSA, said, “Customers can have complete confidence in the results that are produced from the HSA’s forensic lab because the lab is held to the very highest standards through the FQS accreditation.”
Ms Yearwood added that it was essential that the forensic laboratory be held to the highest of standards because it is a multi-functional entity servicing individual patients, law enforcement and also the corporate world, which can use the laboratory for their employee drug testing as part of their drug-free workplace programmes.
She also said the forensic lab’s DNA services, including paternity testing, had been accredited at the HSA since 2009 and meet the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation standards.
“The latest FQS accreditation will stand alongside the existing accreditation and together they serve to promote the HSA’s forensic lab as one that meets the highest international standards ahead of most other comparable labs in the region,” Ms Yearwood said.