The principles behind medical audit are straightforward, and histopathology departments are not exempt from the increasing requirement for audit in hospitals throughout the United Kingdom. Participation in a local audit scheme can offer more direct benefits than those which may be achieved by participation in a diagnosis based external quality assurance system, but the two are not incompatible. Histopathology Departments should establish their own system, developing an audit strategy for their particular laboratory and obtaining funding in advance. The experience gained from Southampton would suggest that such local systems are best kept fairly straightforward, so that they can be managed readily and do not become too onerous. Individual departments should institute a forum for presenting the results of their audit, and should consider how they might go about correcting any inadequacies detected by their system. It is also important for a department to decide on the extent up which their findings are to be disseminated more widely, in particular to the administration and managerial staff of their institute.
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