Accreditation

Development and maintenance of standards and guidelines for pathology laboratories.

Page last updated: 25 March 2021

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.

Notification of the Stage III pathology accreditation measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring patient access to quality pathology services during the response to COVID-19 through the operation of the National Pathology Accreditation Program. In recognition of the impact of the extraordinary pandemic events on the operations of pathology laboratories, the Government has supported a further extension of COVID pathology accreditation measures for those laboratories that continue to be directly impacted by COVID-19 in order to support the pathology sector.

Unless the operation of a pathology laboratory is directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, pathology laboratories must seek and obtain accreditation in accordance with the usual requirements for the National Pathology Accreditation Program.

The pathology COVID accreditation measures aimed at supporting the National Pathology Accreditation Program are in operation from 1 April 2021 until 30 June 2021.

Stage III pathology accreditation measures in response to COVID-19

Accreditation Requirements for SARS-CoV-2 Testing

The Department is writing to all Approved Pathology Authorities and Accredited Pathology Laboratories to draw attention to the requirement for laboratories performing SARS-CoV-2 testing must be specifically accredited for SARS-CoV-2 testing in order to be eligible for Medicare rebates.

Laboratories performing SARS-CoV-2 testing are expected to contact to NATA to confirm their accreditation status. All laboratories performing SARS-CoV-2 testing are expected to be accredited by 20 December 2020.

Accreditation requirements for SARS-CoV-2 Testing (PDF 97 KB)
Accreditation requirements for SARS-CoV-2 Testing (Word 145 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.

Cessation of Approved Collection Centre pathology measures

Following an upswing in usual pathology services after a sharp decrease in March and April 2020 as a result of COVID-19 lockdown measures, the Government decided to bring forward the end date of two temporary pathology viability measures. These two temporary viability support measures, previously planned for removal from 30 September, concluded on 30 June 2020.

Cessation of Approved Collection Centre pathology measures

COVID Point of Care Testing

Refer to NPAAC Advisory Notes.