This article describes the recent activities of the European Communities Confederation of Clinical Chemistry (EC4). Main goal of EC4 is harmonization of clinical chemistry in the European Union and Europe. EC4's actions connected to that are training and registration of professionals, and accreditation of laboratories. The 35000 professionals practising clinical chemistry in the EU have different backgrounds (medical, pharmaceutical, science-oriented, veterinary, or microbiological). Thus, for the harmonization of training of clinical chemists, EC4 has published a European Syllabus for Postgraduate Training, and instituted a European Union Register for Clinical Chemists. The Syllabus is an indication of the level of requirements in postgraduate training. The EC4 initiative to implement the European Register for Clinical Chemists is based on the 8 years vocational training necessary to obtain sufficient knowledge in clinical chemistry according to the European Syllabus. A guide to the EC4 Register has been published; registration leads to the title European Clinical Chemist (EurClinChem). The accreditation of laboratories must be based on a total quality management system. EC4 has described guidelines (essential criteria) which it judges appropriate for establishing the quality of medical laboratory service; it does not wish to fulfil the role of an accrediting body. Moreover, a working group has been set up to seek to harmonize the work of national accrediting bodies. Therefore, it is logical that EC4 monitors the activities of the different standardizing bodies that might influence the practice of clinical chemistry in the EU. Finally, some aspects concerning the future strategy of EC4 are brought forward.
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