Think multidisciplinary team working for high-quality care, GPs urged

Author: Caroline White

Multidisciplinary team (MDT) working with other primary care health and social care professionals is key to developing high-quality patient care in general practice, and is the way to transform care, concludes a new resource on how to do it for GPs in Wales.  

The resource, developed in partnership with the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Wales, focuses on the relationships between health professionals working in general practice, and how to create the right culture so that everyone understands the importance of the multidisciplinary team and how it can benefit patients.

Endorsed by several health professional bodies, the resource aims to provide practical tools to understand the different roles of colleagues and foster a positive culture of collaboration and support.

Culture will be the ultimate driving force behind the success of the MDT model of general practice, says the resource, which aims to pinpoint the core values and behaviours that are needed for a successful MDT and support conversations between health professionals in defining roles, responsibilities and expectations across the MDT.

The resource emphasises the need to take time to actively participate in multidisciplinary team meetings, and share information appropriately and collaborate openly.

Clarity of role is essential, as is a well-developed awareness of issues of governance and accountability. And all the members of the team should take every opportunity to learn from the other members and to undertake training, it says.

The resource comes at a time of considerable change in general practice, where more health professions with a range of new clinical skills are becoming part of the general practice team in order to meet growing demand and provide a new and responsive model of care.

But building a MDT is not without its challenges, and will require dedicated action and support, says the resource.

Among them are the need to develop appropriate IT systems to allow for sharing of information; resistance to change within the practice; developing confidence in new roles; recruitment and retention to drive the stability of the team; and workload expectations.

“GPs are at the forefront of the change that primary care must make so that patients can see the right medical professional at the right time. Developing new partnerships across primary care is essential, but this transition requires careful thought,” comments Dr Mair Hopkins, joint chair, Royal College of GPs in Wales.

“My hope is that this resource empowers GPs and other primary care professionals to make the best decisions for team-building in their area.”

Suzanne Scott-Thomas, chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s Welsh Pharmacy Board added: “We are already seeing the advantages that pharmacists and other health professionals can bring to general practice and I am confident that this resource can further contribute to the development of the general practice team.”