» Transition from CPA to ISO 15189 is completed

03 October, 2018

The end of September 2018 marked the completion of a five year project to transfer the accreditation of medical laboratories from the CPA Standards to the international standard ISO 15189:2012 Medical laboratories -- Requirements for quality and competence. As medical laboratory accreditation for ISO 15189 is issued by UKAS, the completion of this transition means that accreditation issued by CPA (UK) Ltd ceases to exist.

The majority of laboratories had their initial assessment for ISO 15189 coincide with their CPA full assessment, which used to be undertaken every four years. The project required UKAS to train over 170 assessors in both the new standard and UKAS assessment procedures, which were more detailed than those required by CPA.  There are now over 650 laboratories accredited to ISO 15189, details of these and their specific scopes of accreditation can be found on the UKAS website. UKAS provides more detail on the accredited repertoire than was previously seen with CPA, this follows from a more detailed assessment by UKAS of the competence of the medical laboratory service.

This transition project has posed a number of challenges along the way, mainly due to the significant volume of work involved, but UKAS has received a large amount of feedback indicating the positive impact that the transition has had on services. Over the coming months UKAS will conduct a fuller review of the impact of the transition process and how accreditation to ISO 15189 is providing increased confidence to patients and users.

This transition project has been very well supported by the professions and UKAS is very grateful for all the hard work and support provided by the Peer Assessors. It is essential that UKAS has access to expertise to deliver independent competent assessments and also access to high level guidance to support the governance of the scheme.  The latter has been provided by the UKAS Medical Laboratory Technical Advisory Committee (which was previously the CPA Professional Advisory Committee). UKAS is grateful for the support of all the members that have sat on the Committee throughout this project providing expert clinical and technical advice that has enabled this project to be a success.

Further information can be found on the Medical Laboratory Accreditation page.