Both category S and category M laboratories perform limited ranges of testing for a limited client base, although the complexity of testing in category S laboratories may be quite high (for example, in laboratories performing fertility-related testing). Due to the nature of categories S and M laboratories, the APP will in most cases also be the laboratory’s testing supervisor for accreditation purpose. For the supervisors of categories S and M laboratories, there are currently no clearly defined, recognisable, formal pathology-related qualifications relevant to the approved scope of testing. The Department considers that there is not usually the same need to require that APP applicants hold formal specialist pathology qualifications for activity in these categories of laboratory. However, it is still very important from a public health and safety perspective that the APPs responsible for the testing undertaken in these laboratories should have an adequate understanding of the key elements that contribute to the provision of quality pathology services.

    It is proposed that individuals applying for APP status for use in category S or category M laboratories would need to clearly identify to Medicare Australia:

    • the scope of pathology testing for which they wish to take responsibility; and
    • that they have the qualifications and experience necessary for ensuring safe and effective pathology practice relevant to the proposed scope of testing.

    This demonstrated capability would be in addition to the base requirement of being a qualified and registered medical practitioner. The Department will work with relevant professional groups over time to develop agreed competency benchmarks and to identify and develop the education and/or training that would provide a good indication of competency that might form an acceptable “formal” pathology-related qualification for a limited range of testing, and which could be relied upon as the basis of assessment in the future.