National Quality Assurance Advisory Panel in Cellular Pathology

External quality assurance (EQA) is a key technique through which pathologists and the laboratories they work in can assure themselves, their users, the wider health service and the public that their work is of an appropriate quality and is in line with their peers nationally. This is achieved through comparison of their report for each test case with those of other individuals or laboratories.

The Cellular Pathology National Quality Assurance Advisory Panel (NQAAP) oversees the running of External Quality Assurance Schemes in Histopathology and Cytopathology. The schemes include individual based interpretive EQA schemes that assess the quality of interpretation of microscope slides by pathologists, and technical schemes which assess the quality of the technical work laboratories produce. The panel oversees the annual activities of each scheme registered with the College, including the investigation of persistent poor performance by individual pathologists or laboratories.

The purpose of the panel is to promote a uniform standard of EQA across the country. This is important to ensure that the work of cellular pathology laboratories and their contribution to clinical services is of a uniformly high standard. Participation in EQA maintains the skills of individual pathologists both through the discipline of regular assessment against the work of their peers, and through the educational value that is inherent in EQA participation.

Read further information about the role of individual based interpretive EQA in appraisal and laboratory accreditation.

Chair: Dr Paul Barrett

Committee Members