New toolkit launched to support multi-disciplinary team working in the independent health sector 

A new toolkit has been launched by the Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) to support independent healthcare providers to further improve multi-disciplinary team (MDT) working in the sector, setting out the latest best practice and innovations from across the healthcare system. You can read it in full here.

MDT working – where healthcare professionals work together alongside patients to make team-based clinical decisions – is established practice in many areas of healthcare including in the independent sector, and for patients with complex care needs such as cancer, MDTs are viewed as the gold standard for care. The importance of MDT working was also highlighted in the Bishop of Norwich’s independent inquiry into Ian Paterson.  

With support from NHS England, the Care Quality Commission, Royal Colleges, insurers, patient charities and independent providers themselves, IHPN have developed a new toolkit for independent providers to help develop, strengthen and improve their approaches to MDTs, including the increasing use of virtual or hybrid meetings post-covid.  

The toolkit can be used by independent providers of all types, sizes and structures, and looks to support the use of MDTs beyond cancer care to a broader range of medical settings. The resource provides key principles to support providers around: 

  • identifying when MDT meetings should be carried out in the best interests of patients; 
  • what clinicians and providers should consider when setting up and running MDT meetings;  

Best practice examples from across the independent sector and wider health service are also set out to stimulate and to support independent providers to further strengthen the governance around their MDTs and develop innovative new approaches. These include exemplars around: 

  • MDT working for highly specialised and complex care;  
  • Running effective virtual and/or hybrid MDT meetings 
  • Engaging patients in the MDT process 

Dr Howard Freeman, Clinical Director at IHPN, said: 

“We’re delighted to be launching this MDT toolkit which forms part of our ongoing programme of work to support independent providers to deliver the highest quality of care to patients.  

“MDT working is a fundamental part of delivering safe, high quality patient care, and we hope this resource – which includes many fantastic examples of team working in the sector and beyond – supports providers to fully utilise all the expertise of their clinical teams and to ensure the delivery of evidence-based patient-centred treatment.”  

Rachel Power, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said:  

“This resource, by promoting patient-centred multidisciplinary meetings, is a valuable contribution towards effective, personalised care. It offers guidance to independent providers to deliver coordinated, comprehensive care tailored to individual patient needs. We welcome this collaborative approach to improving outcomes and ensuring patients receive the highest quality care and support throughout their treatment journey.” 

Stella Williams, Senior Specialist in Secondary and Specialist Care at CQC, said:  

“Effective MDT working involving clinical expertise in the round is a fundamental part of delivering safe, high-quality care and it can significantly optimise both patient safety and patient outcomes. We welcome the IHPN’s new toolkit for independent providers and are pleased to have been part of the reference group that helped shape its development.  

“The toolkit sets out best practice examples and guidance on how providers can strengthen the governance around their MDTs and aims to help improve the impact and consistency of MDT approaches in a range of independent healthcare settings. We hope it will be a valuable resource to the sector. 

“We look at MDT working when we assess services, and we will continue to use our single assessment framework to check that people receive care, treatment and support which is evidence-based and in line with good practice standards.” 

Dr Fiona Donald, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists said:  

“The new IHPN toolkit will help ensure more patients benefit from effective team working between the different healthcare professionals involved in their care. It addresses common questions and scenarios through examples of best practice, which hopefully will serve to drive quality and consistency.”