Introduction: Problems and Prospects for Multidisciplinary Team Meetings

  • Cordet SmartEmail author
  • Jennifer Dickenson
  • Timothy Auburn
  • Nancy Froomberg
Part of the The Language of Mental Health book series (TLMH)


The MDTsInAction research programme developed from early conversations around how formulation and decision-making works in multidisciplinary mental health teams, to the elaboration of a research programme that would interrogate how this communication worked. MDT meetings offer a particular research focus representing a “microcosm” of interprofessional working, ideal for interrogating face-to-face communications. A systematic literature review of the effects of poor communication revealed implications for service users, institutions and staff, including delays and inadequacies in care, and staff burnout. Power and hierarchy, and representing service user voices, were key themes relevant to poor communication. This provided a rational for studying MDT communication in teams. An overview of the book is provided, identifying the key themes: methods, clinical applications, service user concerns and interventions.


  1. Ahluwalia, S. C., Bekelman, D. B., Huynh, A. K., Prendergast, T. J., Shreve, S., & Lorenz, K. A. (2015). Barriers and strategies to an iterative model of advance care planning communication. The American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Care, 32(8), 817–823. Scholar
  2. Antaki, C. (2011). Six kinds of applied conversation analysis. In C. Antaki (Ed.), Applied conversation analysis: Intervention and change in institutional talk. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Borrill, C. S., Carletta, J., Carter, A. J., Dawson, J. F., Garrod, S. Rees, A., …, West, M. A. (2001). The effectiveness of health care teams in the National Health Service. Aston University. Retrieved on 10 May 2016 from
  4. CASP Checklists. (2014). Critical Appraisal Skills Programme. Retrieved 17 October 2016 from
  5. Chassin, M. R., & Becher, E. C. (2002). The wrong patient. Annals of Internal Medicine, 136, 826–833.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chong, W. W., Aslani, P., & Chen, T. F. (2013). Multiple perspectives on shared decision-making and interprofessional collaboration in mental healthcare. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 27(3), 223–230. Scholar
  7. D’Amour, D., Goulet, L., Labadie, J.-F., Martín-Rodriguez, L. S., & Pineault, R. (2008). A model and typology of collaboration between professionals in healthcare organizations. BMC Health Services Research 2008, 8, 188.
  8. Davis, M. M., Devoe, M., Kansagara, D., Nicolaidis, C., & Englander, H. (2012). “Did I do as best as the system would let me?” Healthcare professional views on hospital to home care transitions. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 27(12), 1649–1656. Scholar
  9. Department of Health (DoH). (2012). Winterbourne view hospital: Department of health review and response. Retrieved from
  10. Department of Health (DoH). (2013). The report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust public inquiry. Retrieved from:
  11. Department of Health. (2014). The care act. London: Department of Health.Google Scholar
  12. Fox, L., Onders, R., Hermansen-Kobulnicky, C. J., Nguyen, T.-N., Myran, L., Linn, B., & Hornecker, J. (2018). Teaching interprofessional teamwork skills to health professional students: A scoping review. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 32(2), 127–135. Scholar
  13. Iliffe, S. (2008). Myths and realities in multidisciplinary team-working. London Journal of Primary Care, 1(2), 100–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Johnston, L., & Dallos, R. (2014). Formulation in psychology and psychotherapy: Making sense of people’s problems (2nd ed.). Hove: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Johnstone, L., & Boyle, M., with Cromby, J., Dillon, J., Harper, D., Kinderman, P., Longden, E., Pilgrim, D., & Read, J. (2018). The power threat meaning framework: Towards the identification of patterns in emotional distress, unusual experiences and troubled or troubling behaviour, as an alternative to functional psychiatric diagnosis. Leicester: British Psychological Society.Google Scholar
  16. Mosser, G., & Begun, J. W. (2013). Understanding teamwork in health care. New York: McGraw Hill Professional.Google Scholar
  17. Nagpal, K., Arora, S., Vats, A., Wong, H. W., Sevdalis, N., Vincent, C., & Moorthy, K. (2012). Failures in communication and information transfer across the surgical care pathway: Interview study. British Medical Journal of Quality & Safety, 21(10), 843–849.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. National Health Service (NHS) England. (2014). MDT Development—Working towards an effective multidisciplinary/multiagency team. Retrieved from
  19. Payne, M. (2000). Teamwork in multiprofessional care. Basingstoke: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  20. Redfern, E., Brown, R., & Vincent, C. A. (2009). Identifying vulnerabilities in communication in the emergency department. Emergency Medicine Journal: EMJ, 26(9), 653–657. Scholar
  21. Rolls, L., & Relf, M. (2006). Bracketing interviews: Addressing methodological challenges in qualitative interviewing in bereavement and palliative care. Mortality, 11, 286–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sidnell, J. (2010). Conversation analysis: An introduction. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  23. Sutcliffe, K. M., Lewton, E., & Rosenthal, M. M. (2004). Communication failures: An insidious contributor to medical mishaps. Academic Medicine, 79, 186–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Williams, R. G., Silverman, R., Schwind, C., Fortune, M. D., Sutyak, M. D., Horvath, K., …, Dunnington, G. L., (2007). Surgeon information transfer and communication: Factors affecting quality and efficiency of inpatient care. Ann Surg, 245, 159e69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wilson, R. M., Runciman, W. B., Gibberd, R. W., Harrison, B. T., Newby, L., & Hamilton, J. D. (1995). The quality in Australian health care study. Medical Journal of Australia, 63, 458–471.Google Scholar
  26. World Health Organisation. (2013). Framework for action on interprofessional education and collaboration. Geneva: The World Health Organisation.Google Scholar
  27. World Health Organisation. (2015). People-centred health systems in the WHO European region: Voices of patients and carers. Geneva, Switzerland: The World Health Organisation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cordet Smart
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jennifer Dickenson
    • 2
  • Timothy Auburn
    • 1
  • Nancy Froomberg
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of PlymouthPlymouthUK
  2. 2.Devon Partnership NHS TrustExeterUK

Personalised recommendations