It was with great sadness we advised in our last issue that Dr Eva Raik passed away on 10 December 2019. In her role with NATA, Regina Robertson worked closely with Eva for many years and wrote the following tribute:
Eva will be well-known to colleagues in the medical field through her work as a clinical haematologist, and for the many roles she held in the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) over the decades, including that of President. What may not be known is her important role in the initiation and formation of our NATA/RCPA medical accreditation scheme.
NATA was initially approached by the RCPA (the College) in 1983 with a request to develop a voluntary accreditation scheme for pathology laboratories. This was in response to findings from a federal government enquiry into the business of pathology testing, and subsequent media and public attention on the pathology profession.
In her then role as a Member of the RCPA NSW State Committee, Eva was a key liaison point between NATA and the College in the formation of our joint voluntary accreditation scheme (known as the NATA/RCPA medical laboratory accreditation scheme). This was formally launched in 1984.
In the early negotiations, the College emphasised that their main aim was to offer an accreditation scheme through which competent pathology testing services could be publicly recognised and differentiated from non-accredited services. This recognition would confirm the competence of the laboratories thereby providing confidence to the users of their services – referring medical practitioners and patients.
In early agreements, the College undertook to encourage their Fellows to act as technical assessors, as well as the services of suitably qualified scientists in their employ. NATA’s role was to provide the accreditation framework and independence in regard to the decision on accreditation.
Eva undertook the role of pathology haematology assessor in the formative years of the scheme, and also as a member of the NATA/RCPA Medical Accreditation Advisory Committee. She also acted as a College reviewer of assessment reports, allowing the College to track the issues that were arising during assessments and monitor the progress of the scheme.
In addition to the overarching aim of the scheme as described above, Eva was insistent that this scheme should provide a means for education and the identification of best acceptable practice. The instigation of the RCPA Continuing Professional Development Program (CPDP) for pathologists also grew out of the findings of the NATA/RCPA joint scheme.
The NATA/RCPA scheme became mandatory in 1986 and decades on, the scheme continues to be recognised as the gold standard for medical accreditation around the globe.
In recent interactions with Eva, and to paraphrase, she said “Our scheme delivered improvements in pathology that had a direct and positive impact on patient care. We should take great pride in what we have achieved.”
While there have been many valued inputs into our joint scheme’s formation and continued operation, none stand out like Eva’s for the energy and sheer determination that she brought to the task. She wanted the scheme to deliver benefits for patients and for those working in pathology laboratories as medical practitioners and scientists. There is no doubt that this was achieved.
Eva was a force to be reckoned with in all she undertook and she will be greatly missed.