March 23rd, 2015
The prospect of having your systems inspected can be quite daunting so to try and allay your fears below is a brief overview of what you can expect to happen on your DAMAS inspection day.
Most laboratories are choosing to purchase an off the shelf system from the DLA which guides you through the implementation stages. It is very important that your laboratory procedures comply with each clause of the DAMAS Specification and it is important to remember that simply buying the ‘DAMAS Implementation System’ from the DLA is not enough to prove compliance.
Once you have implemented all of the procedures to comply with DAMAS you need to check that it actually satisfies the requirements. This check is called internal auditing. What you may find by undertaking this internal audit is that not everything is being done correctly – this is called a nonconformity. Don’t worry about getting nonconformities just fix them and make sure they don’t happen again. Once you have one internal audit under your belt, you should carry out a management review which should determine if your system has been compromised by the number of nonconformities found.
When you are satisfied that your system meets the requirements of DAMAS, and you have a minimum of three months records, you may then apply to have your audit.
On the day of the assessment, the assessor will explain what will happen during the day. They will then assess your system for conformity with the DAMAS requirements. This will be done by examining samples of your records and assessing if these are sufficient to demonstrate conformity. The assessor will need a tour of your laboratory to look how your processes are undertaken which will include amongst other things, booking in, booking out and final inspection.
The assessor will take lots of notes and ask different questions about all different aspects of your manufacturing processes. Don’t worry about this. The assessor has to make records of their assessment so that random checks may be made to ensure that assessors are doing the job correctly!
When the assessor has finished, they will confirm any nonconformities they have found. It is up to you to fix nonconformities. In some instances, the assessor will guide you in the right direction but there are limitations on what guidance they can give. In all circumstances the assessor will let you know how to complete any paperwork which puts right any nonconformities that are identified.
In most cases, the assessor will find nonconformities of a minor nature that can be quickly fixed and that are not a cause for concern. The assessor will advise you that, in their opinion, your system meets the DAMAS requirements and that they will be recommending your registration as a DAMAS laboratory.
The DLA will confirm your DAMAS registration in writing and provide a copy of the DAMAS logo which may be used to promote your DAMAS status and on your lab stationery and lab tickets. It is also worthwhile writing to your clients to tell them about your success and that you now have independent proof that you are complying with the law, namely the Medical Devices Regulations and Medical Devices Directive. This is principally what DAMAS is about!