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Company Overview

Comprehensive database with laboratories in more than sixty countries

Established by Dr Jim McCulloch in 1989, Thistle QA initially supplied one EQA (External Quality Assessment) in General Chemistry. We've grown rapidly from about forty laboratories in greater Johannesburg, South Africa to a database of laboratories in more than sixty countries.

Thistle operates through a data share facility with Randox laboratories in the United Kingdom. In addition to pathology, many industrial laboratories (such as forensic and food microbiology) also benefit from our PT (Proficiency Testing) service.

True international service provider with African roots

With more than 6000 participants we have one of the largest databases in the world. Plus most of our data comes from overseas. In other words we are a truly international service provider with:
  • 7 international pathology programmes
  • 16 local pathology programmes
  • More than 20 programmes in other laboratory areas
We have one of the largest databases in the world.

While we're proud of our international reach, we are an African company, with roots in Johannesburg. As such, we make available local expertise to all our participants through our active advisory and training approach.

There's little doubt that EQA and PT are a valuable way to identify key lab analytical problems. Accordingly, we're always willing to support quality improvement in our participating labs in whatever capacity we can. This could be anything from a simple phone call to discuss quality issues or an on-site visit to help identify fundamental problems.

Actively increasing the knowledge base

Participants receive monthly teaching material to increase their knowledge base and acquire the necessary CPD (continuing professional development) points. CPD is a points system linked to laboratory competency.

In addition, we make available to all our clients a QC (Quality Control) course. We hold regular seminars and workshops when and wherever needed. We also host a multi-disciplinary Annual Quality Talk at major centres throughout Southern Africa.

First accredited service provider in Africa

Thistle QA was the first organization in South Africa to gain EQA accreditation through SANAS; firstly according to ISO Guide 43 and more recently ISO 17043.