Accreditation has been active in the medical laboratory sector since the 1990s. Prior to accreditation in the UK being awarded by UKAS and the transition to ISO 15189:2012, laboratories performing testing for the purpose of clinical diagnosis were accredited by Clinical Pathology Accreditation (CPA).
To support CPA, the Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) was formed to provide necessary, clinical, professional and technical input into CPA accreditation and ensure assessments were suitably informed and up to date. Initially, the PAC had decision making responsibilities for CPA accreditation as well as providing advice on current developments.
As CPA became a wholly owned subsidiary of UKAS and the transition to ISO 15189 began, the PAC was retained and had a dual role as UKAS’ Technical Advisory Committee (MedLab TAC). All Pathology disciplines are represented on the committee and the PAC/TAC was critical in the effective transition to ISO 15189, helping to engage stakeholders and ensuring UKAS considered regular developments in the sector.
The purpose of the UKAS MedLab TAC is an advisory, non-executive committee that provides a forum for input from various bodies with an interest in Medical Laboratory activities, including Medical EQA and Point of Care Testing. The TAC advises UKAS on technical matters relating to the development and operation of UKAS accreditation activities for all areas of Medical Laboratory accreditation. In particular, to respond to the requirements of UKAS for advice on specific clinical and technical issues including:
- The formulation and review of specific technical criteria to facilitate effective and consistent application of UKAS’ accreditation activities.
- Make recommendations on the development of the content of international accreditation guidelines and provide advice on their implementation by UKAS
- The acceptability of particular procedures as a basis for accreditation of medical laboratories
- Advise UKAS on how its accreditation services in the field of medical laboratories might develop in response to market needs
- The identification of potential assessors and sources of assessors
- The impact of European and other international initiatives
- Assist in the development of Technical Competence Criteria (TCCs) for UKAS assessors
- The need for the establishment of specialist sub-committees and/or task forces
The Chairman of MedLab TAC is independent of UKAS but is appointed by the UKAS Technical, Quality & Risk Director for a three-year term and may be re-appointed for a further term or terms.
Members of MedLab TAC are appointed by invitation from UKAS. They are selected on the basis of having the necessary clinical or technical knowledge and expertise to contribute to the work of FSTAC and where relevant, for their ability to act as a representative of their organisation, sector or other interest. Committee Members represent a range of medical laboratory stakeholder interests including professional bodies, government departments/agencies, accredited laboratories and end users. Membership is reviewed by UKAS in conjunction with the Chairman at least every three years. Other parties may attend meetings of MedLab TAC at the invitation of the Chairman and with the agreement of UKAS. On matters requiring specific technical expertise, task groups may be set up. The membership of any such task group will be agreed by UKAS and MedLab TAC and may include members from outside the MedLab TAC.
The MedLab TAC meets every three months with short telephone conferences in between, if necessary.
Decisions on issues discussed by the MedLab TAC are reached by consensus, i.e. not by voting.
Members receive briefing papers as necessary at least one week before the meeting to permit time for consultation and consideration. Papers for meetings are not public documents.
MedLab TAC Committee Member
Albert Mifsud TAC Chair/Microbiology Sue Alexander Microbiology Neil Barrett Independent Sector Kevin Green Immunology Tim Helliwell Histopathology Geoff Lloyd EQA Numerate Darren Jose Clinical Biochemistry Graham Fews Genetics Andrew Platt Haematology Tim Reynolds EQA Numerate Andrew Taylor Clinical Biochemistry Gerry Van Schalkwyk EQA Interpretive Tim Von Pokorny Histopathology Ravishankar Sargur Immunology Katy Latham H&I Louise Smart Cytology David Sanders Andrology Kenneth Mutton Virology Jane Shirley Virology Caroline Subramaniam Blood Transfusion Ben Courtney UKAS Section Head – Healthcare Matt Gantley UKAS Chief Executive Lorraine Turner UKAS Accreditation Director Le Tran TAC Secretary/ UKAS Commercial Team Leader