What are Multidisciplinary Teams in Health and Social Care

What are Multidisciplinary Teams in Health and Social Care?

Workforce and Employment

Care Learning

4 mins READ

Health and social care services often involve a range of professionals working together. These professionals come from different disciplines, which means they have different areas of expertise. When these experts work together toward a common goal, they form a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT).

MDTs play a crucial role in providing comprehensive care to individuals. They ensure that all aspects of a person’s health and well-being are addressed.

Purpose of Multidisciplinary Teams


A Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) consists of members from various health and social care professions. The team works collaboratively to deliver coordinated care. Each member brings their unique expertise and perspective. For example, in a hospital setting, an MDT might include doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, social workers, and occupational therapists.


The primary aim of an MDT is to provide holistic care. Holistic care means treating the whole person, not just the symptoms or disease. It includes physical, emotional, social, and sometimes spiritual support. An MDT ensures that no aspect of a patient’s care is overlooked.

Structure of an MDT

Core Members

  • Doctors: Provide medical diagnoses and treatment plans.
  • Nurses: Offer day-to-day care and manage treatment procedures.
  • Social Workers: Address social and emotional needs, including support for families.
  • Physiotherapists: Assist with physical rehabilitation and mobility.
  • Occupational Therapists: Help patients regain independence in daily activities.

Extended Members

  • Pharmacists: Advise on medication management.
  • Dietitians: Offer nutritional advice and plans.
  • Psychologists: Provide mental health support.
  • Speech and Language Therapists: Help with communication and swallowing issues.

Each member has specific responsibilities but shares common goals. They work together to create and implement a person-centred care plan.

What do Multidisciplinary Teams do?


Effective communication is vital in an MDT. The team must regularly share information and updates on the patient’s condition. Meetings, often called “MDT meetings,” are held to discuss patient care. In these meetings, each member provides input based on their expertise.

Cooperative Planning

The MDT collaboratively develops a treatment and care plan. This plan outlines the roles and responsibilities of each team member. It ensures that all interventions are coordinated and complement each other. This method helps prevent overlapping tasks and conflicting treatments.

Decision Making

Decisions about a patient’s care are made collectively. The team evaluates medical findings, the patient’s preferences, and social circumstances. Shared decision-making ensures that the chosen interventions are in the best interest of the patient.

Why do you need Multidisciplinary Teams?

Comprehensive Care

MDTs provide holistic care by considering all aspects of a patient’s well-being. This approach leads to better health outcomes and enhances the quality of life.

Improved Communication

MDTs enhance communication among health and social care professionals. This improved communication reduces errors and ensures clarity in care delivery.

Patient-Centred Care

MDTs focus on the patient at the centre of care. They tailor interventions to meet individual needs and preferences, ensuring more personalised care.


MDTs facilitate efficient use of resources by pooling expertise and avoiding duplicated efforts. This efficiency can lead to cost savings for health and social care systems.

Challenges of MDTs


Coordinating multiple professionals can be complex. It requires strong leadership and clear communication pathways.


MDT meetings and collaborative planning can be time-consuming. Implementing interventions may also take longer due to the need for consensus.

Role Clarity

Sometimes, roles and responsibilities can blur within an MDT. This lack of clarity can lead to confusion and overlap of tasks.

Examples of MDTs in Practice

Cancer Care

In cancer care, an MDT might include oncologists, radiologists, surgeons, nurses, and social workers. This team works together to develop treatment plans, provide therapy, and offer support throughout the patient’s journey.

Mental Health Services

In mental health services, an MDT could consist of psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health nurses, social workers, and occupational therapists. They work to deliver comprehensive mental health care, addressing both medical and social issues.

Elderly Care

For elderly patients, an MDT may involve geriatricians, nurses, physiotherapists, dietitians, and social workers. This team focuses on managing chronic conditions, improving mobility, and enhancing the quality of life for older adults.

How to Improve MDT Functioning


Regular training sessions for MDT members can improve collaboration skills. Training can focus on communication, role clarity, and care coordination.


Use of technology, like electronic health records (EHRs), can enhance information sharing. Video conferencing tools can make it easier to hold MDT meetings, especially in remote areas.

Clear Protocols

Developing clear protocols and guidelines can help streamline processes. These protocols should outline communication pathways and decision-making processes.


Multidisciplinary Teams are essential in providing comprehensive, patient-centred care in the health and social care system.

They bring together diverse professionals to address all aspects of health and well-being. While MDTs have challenges, their benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Improving MDT functioning through training, technology, and clear protocols can further enhance the quality of care delivered.

MDTs are key to a more coordinated, efficient, and holistic approach to healthcare.

Multidisciplinary Teams PDF Resources

Working differently together: A Toolkit for Health and Care Organisations and ICSs (PDF)

    • This toolkit serves as a step-by-step guide to help progress a unified workforce approach across health and care organisations and Integrated Care Systems (ICSs).

    Multidisciplinary Team Working – NHS England (PDF)

      • This document discusses the principles and practices of multidisciplinary team working within community hospital settings.

      What are the key factors for successful multidisciplinary team working? (PDF)

        • This review identifies the key factors that contribute to the success of multidisciplinary and multiagency working by utilising knowledge, skills, and best practices from multiple disciplines.

        Multi-disciplinary teams – NHS England (PDF)

          • This resource focuses on the core operating model of multidisciplinary teams, highlighting their importance in delivering integrated care.

          Realising the potential of community-based multidisciplinary teams (PDF)

            • This briefing explores the design, data requirements, and support needed from local and national decision-makers to realise the full potential of community-based multidisciplinary teams.

            Multidisciplinary Team Working: From Theory to Practice (PDF)

              • This discussion paper provides comprehensive information on the theory and practical implementation of multidisciplinary teams, including core competencies.

              (PDF) Multidisciplinary Team Working – ResearchGate

                • This research paper examines multidisciplinary team working in the UK, gathering perceptions from over 253 staff members from 11 community rehabilitation and intermediate care teams.

                Multidisciplinary Team Working in a General Practice Setting (PDF)

                  • This document discusses the necessary conditions for different health professionals to work together effectively in a general practice setting.

                  Delivering integrated care: the role of the multidisciplinary team (PDF)

                    • This report explains the role of multidisciplinary teams in delivering integrated care and enabling collaboration among healthcare practitioners and other professionals.

                    Multidisciplinary working in perioperative care (PDF)

                      • This review summarises evidence to guide the development of effective multidisciplinary teams in the context of perioperative care.

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