April 3, 2023

Respiratory Lab gains full accreditation

The Northern Health Respiratory Laboratory has become one of just 10 labs in the state to achieve full accreditation with the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ).

The Northern Health Respiratory Department opened in 2017 in response to limited respiratory services in the catchment area. Previously, there were long wait times, and for more urgent testing needs, patients had to travel to Austin Health or the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

As part of the developing department, a Respiratory Laboratory was created to support all Northern Health services and primary care partners.

The accreditation process defines uniform standards for respiratory function laboratory services in Australia and New Zealand. The process also considers a lab’s organisation and administration, staffing, policies and procedures, staff development and education, facilities and equipment and quality control/assurance programs.

The final submission in becoming an accredited lab was completed in May 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was also when the respiratory lab began its involvement in the N95 Respiratory fit testing program.

In assessing Northern Health lab’s application, the TSANZ accreditation panel was impressed with the high-standard application.

“This was particularly so, given what Northern Health has faced over the past two years in dealing with the pandemic,” the panel said.

“The Respiratory Function Laboratory has undergone significant reorganisation and currently also runs the face mask fitting service for COVID-19. The staff, led by Nicholas Romeo and Liam Hannan, displayed a high level of professionalism and competence.”

As well as becoming one of only 10 labs in the state to receive full accreditation, the Northern Health lab is just one of 40 labs across Australia and New Zealand to achieve this.

Nicholas Romeo, Head Respiratory Scientist, said this milestone reflected the high standard and quality of the services provided to the northern community.

“This is a huge achievement, which few laboratories complete, and is a testament to everyone’s hard work,” he said.

“Thank you to the scientists, doctors and administration team involved for their hard work and commitment. It gives us great confidence in the quality of the services we provide.”

Dr Liam Hannan, Deputy Director of Respiratory Medicine and Medical Director of Laboratory, said the accreditation process was a huge undertaking for the lab.

“Full credit should go to the tireless efforts of our respiratory scientists, who were brilliant, led by Nicholas,” he said.

“The fact that the accreditation committee made special mention of the high standard of our application indicates the incredible standards that our laboratory has developed and upheld in just over four years of operation. This ensures we are positioned among the top performing respiratory laboratories in Victoria.”

Featured image: Respiratory Lab team.