It is proposed that Medicare Australia would:

    • for categories GX, GY and B laboratories, ensure that applicants are recognised specialist pathologists according to the existing recognition processes; and
    • for categories M and S laboratories, seek advice from NATA and other relevant professional bodies as required in order to assess the suitability of each new APP applicant’s experience and qualifications for their proposed scope of testing, in accordance with transparent guidelines that will need to be developed.

    At present, as part of the laboratory accreditation process, and in accordance with the supervision accreditation standards developed by NPAAC, NATA confirms that the qualifications of individuals supervising and working in APLs are appropriate for supervising the range and complexity of testing undertaken in those laboratories. In the absence of currently available and readily identifiable “formal” qualifications to indicate competencies relevant for testing in categories M and S laboratories, it is proposed that this existing assessment process would be used as a basis for determining suitability for medical practitioners applying for APP status in a specified category.

    Where an APP applicant’s competency for category M or S scope of testing has already been assessed as adequate by NATA for supervision purposes, it is proposed that this assessment would inform Medicare Australia’s decision about whether to accept an APP undertaking. This process would need to be clearly outlined in the form of guidelines for implementation by Medicare Australia and interested stakeholders would be consulted in the development of those guidelines.

    Where NATA holds doubt about the capability of an applicant to safely undertake a proposed scope of testing, it would seek advice from the relevant specialist body or bodies in accordance with the established practices associated with the laboratory categorisation assessment processes. This assessment process would take into account the criteria outlined at the start of this section.

    The Department proposes to work together with Medicare Australia, RCPA, NATA and other parties with clearly defined professional interests (such as relevant peak sub-specialty professional groups) to develop protocols that will ensure that this process assessment is as clearly defined and timely as possible. The use of such protocols would ensure that all interested parties understand their respective roles and would in turn serve to assure applicants of the existence and application of procedural fairness.