Accreditation enables the public to trust in the laboratories ability to deliver accurate, reliable and precise test results and is used to verify that laboratories have appropriate quality management systems in place and can properly perform certain test methods according to their scopes of accreditation.
To gain accreditation laboratories require to show written evidence of compliance with the set standards required (e.g. ISO , ANSI or ASTM) and will undergo a detailed inspection by the relevant accrediting body every two years.
The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) who are appointed by Government require proficiency testing which involves inter-laboratory comparison and by demonstrating their technical competence and integrity, laboratories are able to gain accreditation to this internationally recognised body.
Laboratories can join schemes accredited by UKAS which undertake proficiency testing such as the United Kingdom National External Quality Assessment Service (UK NEQAS) who provide a range of accredited programmes for all aspects of tissue diagnostics, for clinical and non-clinical laboratories and organisations.
For Electron Microscopy there is the UK NEQAS Cellular Pathology Technique (CPT) scheme for Diagnostic Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). This scheme allows participants to submit digital images of several tissue types (micrographs also accepted) for assessment. The assessment involves scoring the diagnostic images using set criteria related to quality of the images. Each participant is also proved with a best methods and example images report that can be used for training and method improvement.