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Medical laboratories in Australia are required to be accredited by either the Commonwealth government or by one of the state governments. Arrangements vary from state to state but almost all rely on an on-site assessment conducted by the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA) in collaboration with the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA).
This paper describes the background to this system and outlines the complementary roles of the various organizations involved. Some information is also provided on criteria development, selection and training of assessors, and the assessment process as employed by NATA. The role of proficiency testing programs operated by bodies such as RCPA, Wellcome Laboratories, and the College of American Pathologists is also mentioned.
The system has been operational since 1983, and over 100 separate laboratories representing approximately 300 laboratory units have been accredited. This paper comments on the outcome of those assessments.
laboratory accreditation, medical laboratories, accreditation criteria, laboratory assessment
National Association of Testing Authorities, Chatswoot,