When a lab has their accreditation suspended, it usually comes as a huge shock. But there are warning signs for poor assessment outcomes. You can determine whether there are issues that you should address before NATA comes.

These are some of the things I have observed in laboratories that go on to have a poor assessment outcome or have their accreditation suspended:

Senior technical staff have left and not been replaced.
Business has expanded and they’re getting lots of new contracts but haven’t had time to train the front-line staff.
They are receiving lots of phone calls from customers.
There are technical problems that everyone agrees need to be fixed, but for some reason they never do get sorted out.
Internal audits have not been done for many months: everyone is too busy to be audited.
New NATA requirements, but they haven’t had time to work out how they apply to them.
Their business has expanded, but they haven’t increased the resources for quality management and internal audit.
Their accreditation covers many different labs, some of which they have never seen nor met the staff members.
No one knows where to find a copy of the last NATA assessment/surveillance report.
The laboratory has been chronically short-staffed due to illness or other unavoidable factors.
Last but not least – if you have had the same NATA lead assessor for many years and now a new one is headed your way.

No one of these problems alone means that your accreditation is doomed, but if you are saying “yes” to a few of them, you need to slow right down and take stock.

How to protect your NATA accreditation

Some labs stumble into having their accreditation suspended without a clue […]