Last month David Ricketts, HSL’s Head of Laboratory Improvement, travelled to Hong Kong to deliver a workshop on ISO 15189 – the internationally recognised standard for quality and competence in medical laboratories. Led alongside Andrew Griffen, Sector Manager for Legal and Clinical Services at the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia, the two day workshop was designed to help emerging nations develop their own pathology accreditation bodies – the equivalent of UKAS here in the UK. Thirty delegates from East and Central Asia attended, including representatives from China, India, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.
“These countries are all at the beginning of their accreditation journey,” says David. “The workshop was designed to support them in the development of their national pathology accreditation programmes – laying out the do’s and don’ts and highlighting points of best practice.”
Accreditation to international standards provides independent assurance of the quality, competency and safety of a medical laboratory. “It’s all about patient safety”, says David. “By providing a mechanism for assessing quality and competency against international standards of best practice, national accreditation bodies help to drive up the quality and consistency of care across the country.”
David and Andrew covered the whole of ISO 15189 during the two day workshop. Feedback from delegates was very positive: “By sharing our own experiences in the sector, we wanted to give attendees the confidence to move forwards in their projects. In many countries, funding for these types of programmes can be an issue – and it’s difficult to know where to turn to for advice. The workshop gave attendees an opportunity to ask us questions, as well as seek advice from other international colleagues. It was an excellent networking experience and hopefully, for many of those who came, an ongoing source of support.”