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Quality standards have been established in two key areas of pathology directly relevant to standards for the provision of emergency medical services. First, there is a national scheme for accreditation of laboratory services--Clinical Pathology Accreditation (UK) Ltd (CPA)--which has been in formal operation since 1992 and currently covers about 80% of all UK laboratories. Secondly, guidelines have been issued by the Joint Working Group on Quality Assurance (JWGQA) on the support to any point-of-care (near patient) testing facilities. Point-of-care testing (POCT) is increasingly popular in emergency areas, where the availability of faster test results is expected to expedite diagnosis and treatment. When laboratory services are not accredited or POCT equipment and its usage are outside laboratory supervision, there should be concerns that quality standards for pathology service support of the emergency services are not being met.