The multidisciplinary team (MDT)

Who or what is the MDT, or multidisciplinary team?

When you have a diagnosis of cancer, your case will be discussed at your hospital’s appropriate multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting. There is an MDT for each type of cancer. The MDT usually meet weekly to discuss new patients and the continuing care of existing patients.

The MDT is responsible for

  • working out your treatment plan with you
  • deciding on further tests
  • making appropriate referrals to specialist services
  • collecting information and keeping good records.

You and the MDT

Your clinical nurse specialist (or CNS)  is part of the MDT and is the link between you and the team. Your GP will also be kept informed by letters from your consultant. You also have opportunities to decide which of the options for your treatment are best for you.

Who is part of the MDT?

The MDT is made up of people who are expert in different areas of medicine. A typical team may include:

  • a lead clinician (normally a physician or surgeon) who takes responsibility for the service
  • an administrator, who co-ordinates the team and makes sure your records are looked after
  • a surgeon, who specialises in performing the type of operations that may be needed to treat your condition
  • an oncologist – a doctor who is a specialist in the treatment of tumours
  • a radiologist – a doctor who does tests in the X-ray department
  • a histopathologist – a doctor who looks at tissue and cell samples under a microscope
  • a clinical nurse specialist (CNS), who is skilled in caring for patients with your kind of cancer
  • a palliative care nurse.

Each MDT has a set of core members, but other specialists may join the team from time to time.

Every team works by following national guidelines or rules on how they should work with each other, with your GP and with the other specialist services. The teams are there to ensure that each patient is given the same, high standard of care, and has the most appropriate investigations and treatment. Each team member is responsible for keeping up-to-date with changes and new treatments. This means that all patients should receive the best possible care, no matter which hospital they attend.