Public health laboratories are governmental reference laboratories that protect the public against diseases and other health hazards.
In 2007, Haim Hacham et al. published a paper addressing the need for and the process of international standardised accreditation for laboratory proficiency in Israel. Their practice is an invaluable experience for all in the sector. With similar efforts, both the Japan Accreditation Board for Conformity Assessment (JAB) and the European Communities Confederation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EC4) have validated and convened ISO 15189, respectively ,. However, Spitzenberger and Edelhäuser have expressed their concerns in that ISO accreditation may include obstacles rising from new emerging medical devices and the new approach of assessment, indicating the time dependence of the standards.
The Public Health Laboratory Service was established as part of the National Health Service in 1946. An Emergency Public Health Laboratory Service was established in 1940 as a response to the threat of bacteriological warfare. There was originally a central laboratory at Colindale and a network of regional and local laboratories. By 1955 there were about 1000 staff. These laboratories were primarily preventive with an epidemiological focus. They were, however, in some places located with hospital laboratories which had a diagnostic focus.
It was replaced by the Health Protection Agency in 2003.
United States laboratory networks and organizations