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Defining the characteristics of effective MDT working in cancer care
  1. C Taylor1 and
  2. A-J Ramirez2 on behalf of the National Cancer Action Team
  1. 1MDT Development Programme, National Cancer Action Team, UK
  2. 2National Clinical Lead for MDT Development and Patient Experience, National Cancer Action Team, UK


Introduction and aims Cancer multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) aim to improve clinical outcomes, co-ordination of care and patient experience by including all relevant health professionals in discussions about individual patients. MDTs vary in performance according to national peer review data. Defining the characteristics of effective MDT working is a necessary first step to address this. Due to the dearth of relevant evidence and to gain clinical engagement, we sought views from MDT members' regarding the characteristics of MDT effectiveness.

Methods An on-line survey was conducted between January and March 2009. Invitations to participate were filtered to MDT members through cancer networks and by a link on the NCIN website. Subsequently a series of workshops with stakeholders developed findings into working definitions of the characteristics of an effective MDT.

Results 2054 MDT members responded to the survey, including representatives from all core professional groups, and most tumour types. Domains of MDT-working (including the team, infrastructure for meetings, organisation and logistics, patient-centred clinical decision-making and team governance) was agreed to be important for effective teamworking by most (78–99%) MDT members. At least 80% of members agreed with most (62/87) statements relating to these domains. Few differences in views by professional group or tumour type were evident. Findings were translated to ‘The characteristics of an effective MDT’ (NCAT, 2010).

Conclusion ‘The characteristics of an effective MDT’ provides a framework from which to facilitate teams to work optimally. A mechanism to self-assess against characteristics combined with the necessary support to facilitate change is now required.

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