Results of a survey of the role of multidisciplinary team coordinators for colorectal cancer in England and Wales

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Abstract

Objective

Over the last 6 years, multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) have been established and play a key role in organizing the delivery of cancer care in the UK. There are no published data on the roles of their co-coordinators.

Objective

To seek the views of colorectal multidisciplinary team co-ordinators (MDTCs) on what they do and how they do it.

Method

Questionnaires were sent to the colorectal MDTC, or equivalent, in all 180 NHS hospital trusts in England and Wales where colorectal cancer surgery is performed.

Results

There was a 70% response rate. Seventy-one per cent of trusts now have a dedicated MDTC, whereas in 2002, only 40% had one. MDTCs generally keep their information on databases, but these differ, and are not coordinated with data entry into the national colorectal cancer database of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland. In only 26 trusts does the MDTC communicate decisions to primary care, and the patients seem almost completely excluded from this process.

Conclusion

The recently formed national MDTC Forum should grasp the opportunity of coordinating all of this well-intentioned but pluralistic activity to the benefit of patients, primary care and hospital teams. An effective MDTC with a robust database will be the key in achieving cancer waiting time targets with useful audit, thereby improving patient care.

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