Pathology Accreditation

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Accreditation systems ensure that pathology laboratories provide a service to its users while meeting a minimum standard of quality and safety. This ensures customers that the laboratory and its staff are adequate to carry out specific duties at a set standard, therefore allowing them to confidently judge which laboratory to invest their time and resources in. A failure to meet the standards provided by an accredited system can lead to the removal of the accreditation as well as informing other members of the accreditation system and potential service users.

The clinical pathology accreditation Ltd (CPA) acts as a voluntary accreditation system within the UK for pathology laboratories. To be accredited, laboratories must follow standards arranged into eight different categories:
A. Organisation and
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The Evaluation and Quality Assurance category ensures that evaluation and improvement processes are made available to staff, and to users as required. The Laboratory management shall establish an internal audit of the quality management system.

In 2009 the CPA became a subsidiary of the United Kingdom Accreditation System which now acts as the sole accreditation body of the UK. The main goal of UKAS is to “provide an assurance of the competence, impartiality and integrity of conformity assessment bodies. UKAS accredited certification, testing, inspection and calibration reduces the need for suppliers to be assessed by each of their customers” as stated on their website (

UKAS also has a series of standards that must be met by accredited laboratories such as the ISO 15189:2012 standard which is used to determine if the quality and competence of medical laboratories is met. This standard is also used to develop the quality management standard of the laboratory. ISO/IEC 17025:2005 provides the requirements to carry out sampling, calibrations and tests with the use of lab-developed methods, standard methods and non-standard
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