Requirements for the supervision of pathology laboratories (2007 Edition)

Standard 2 — Consultation

The National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council (NPAAC) was established in 1979 to consider and make recommendations to the Australian, state and territory governments on matters related to the accreditation of pathology laboratories and the introduction and maintenance of uniform standards of practice in pathology laboratories throughout Australia.

Page last updated: 10 February 2014

S2.1 Laboratories shall have staff who can advise clinicians on the evaluation and interpretation of results of laboratory examinations.
S2.2 An essential part of laboratory activity is the provision of a consultative service to the clinician. The consulting service shall be readily available and the clinician shall be able to obtain authoritative advice from the laboratory on:
a) the precision and accuracy of methods used in the laboratory
b) the significance of results in relation to the laboratory’s reference values
c) the scientific basis of the results
d) the clinical significance of the requested procedure and its fitness for purpose (suitability to solve the clinical problem in question)
e) further procedures that may be helpful.

Commentary on consultation

C2.1 The following commentary discusses consultation arrangements for each of the five laboratory categories. Further information on staffing and supervision can be found in Standard 1.

Category GX and GY laboratories

C2.2 For Category GX and GY laboratories, pathologists or senior scientists with appropriate qualifications must be available for consultation.

Category B laboratory

C2.3 For a Category B laboratory, a pathologist or senior scientist with appropriate qualifications, must be available at either at the Category B laboratory or at the supervising Category GX or GY laboratory during normal working hours, and must be available for telephone consultation at other times.

Category M laboratory

C2.4 For a Category M laboratory, the registered medical practitioner supervising the laboratory should either be present at the medical practice, or available to the other medical practitioners of that practice, for consultation and advice on the evaluation and interpretation of results of tests performed in the laboratory, and the precision and accuracy of the methods employed.

Category S laboratory

C2.5 For a Category S laboratory, the supervisor shall ensure that consultative advice is available at all times (either from the supervisor or from another, suitably qualified, person).

Further information

Other NPAAC documents are available from:

NPAAC Secretariat
Department of Health
GPO Box 9848
Phone: (02) 6289 4017
Fax: (02) 6289 8509