Is clinical pathology accreditation worth it? A survey of CPA-accredited laboratories

Clin Perform Qual Health Care. 2000;8(4):195-201. doi: 10.1108/14664100010361746.


Following two pilot studies, Clinical Pathology Accreditation (CPA) accreditation was introduced to UK pathology laboratories in 1992. Since then, significant numbers of laboratories have undergone accreditation but many have never applied. We carried out a postal survey of 145 accredited laboratories in the UK to independently determine the opinions of laboratory managers/clinicians about CPA and whether accreditation had produced any significant benefits to pathology services. Ninety-three replies were received (64 per cent) a good response to an unsolicited questionnaire. Most laboratories felt accreditation by CPA had resulted in better laboratory performance with more documentation and better health and safety and training procedures. CPA accreditation was believed to provide useful information by approximately 50 per cent of laboratories but was also felt by a significant proportion of laboratories to be over-bureaucratic, inefficient and expensive (46 of 93 respondents). Many complaints were voiced about the excessive paperwork that CPA generated and there was also a significant body of opinion that felt that CPA assessed areas were the domain of other regulatory bodies such as the CPSM, IBMS and HSE.

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Humans
  • Laboratories, Hospital / standards*
  • Pathology Department, Hospital / standards*
  • Pathology, Clinical / standards
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom