Accreditation

Development and maintenance of standards and guidelines for pathology laboratories.

Page last updated: 18 August 2020

The National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council (NPAAC) is responsible for the development and maintenance of standards and guidelines for pathology laboratories. Audits against these standards and guidelines are conducted by the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia (NATA). NATA audit assessment reports are considered by the Department of Human Services in determining access to the Medicare Benefits Scheme.

Laboratories seeking eligibility for Medical Benefit rebates are expected to meet the specified quality standards as expressed in the accreditation material developed and maintained by NPAAC in the context of the Australian pathology accreditation framework.

To contact the NPAAC Secretariat please email the Department of Health or phone (02) 6289 4017.National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council (NPAAC) Guidance for Point of Care Testing (PDF 358 KB)

Guidelines for COVID-19 Temporary Collection Facilities (Drive through and Pop-up)

As part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary collection facilities have been established by either state/ territory governments or laboratory providers for the collection of specimens from patients. This is with the aim of providing more access to collection services that will enable more testing for COVID to occur.

To support the temporary COVID collection facilities, guidance is provided with the aim of reducing any potential risks to patients and aimed at ensuing quality pathology results.

Notification of the Pathology Accreditation Processes during COVID-19 Pandemic

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring patient access to quality pathology services during the response to COVID-19. As part of this, maintaining the continued operation of the National Pathology Accreditation Program is important. The impact of the extraordinary events on the operations of pathology laboratories is recognised and it is more important than ever to ensure the provision of quality pathology services that inform patient management decisions.

Further to consultation with the National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council (NPAAC) and in response to the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, the following measures are in operation until 30 September 2020:

Accredited pathology laboratories whose accreditation approval period should cease within the next 6 months, will be granted a continuation of their current accreditation for a period of 6 months from the date of the current end date of approval.

The accreditation status of accredited pathology laboratories will be maintained during the response phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. These arrangements will be monitored however, and may be subject to change in the recovery phase of the pandemic.

These measures are intended to support pathology laboratories in the provision of services, particularly during a high demand period, and for accreditation assessors and laboratory personnel participating in an accreditation process to meet the social distancing requirements.

Queries relating to the accreditation standards, please contact NPAAC@health.gov.au

Queries relating to applications, please contact Services Australia – www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/medicarepathology

Queries for the independent assessment body - National Association of Testing Authorities Australia
Phone: 1800 621 666

Pathology Accreditation Processes during COVID-19 (PDF 207 KB)
Pathology Accreditation Processes during COVID-19 (Word 146 KB)

Factsheet - Pathology Accreditation Measures in response to COVID-19 (PDF 207 KB)
Factsheet - Pathology Accreditation Measures in response to COVID-19 (Word 90 KB)

COVID Point of Care Testing

Refer to NPAAC Advisory Notes.