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Cancer patients to benefit from more effective team working

07 April 2010

Cancer patients in England will soon benefit from improvements made to multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) as a result of recent research into their effectiveness by researchers from King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre.

Researchers from King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, both part of King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre, were involved in the initial research funded by Cancer Research UK and recently published in the British Medical Journal. They have also been working with the National Cancer Action Team to translate the research findings into more effective multidisciplinary teams for cancer care.

Catherine Taylor, Research Fellow at King’s College London said: 'Many countries have implemented multidisciplinary team working for cancer care, including the United States and Australia, with very little evidence for its effectiveness. The rationale is simply that as the management of disease becomes more complex, it is important to involve key professional groups in making clinical decisions for individual patients. However, we wanted to review the evidence to ensure this approach was in fact the best for patients.'

Professor Amanda Ramirez, Professor of Liaison Psychiatry at King's College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust said 'The survey of 2000 MDT members we undertook in collaboration with the National Cancer Action Team is helping us to define the key characteristics of an effective multidisciplinary team for cancer care. These will help MDTs adapt and improve for the direct benefit of patients affected by cancer.'

Professor Arnie Purushotham, Director of the Integrated Cancer Centre and Leader of the King’s Health Partners Cancer, Haematology, Palliative Care and Therapies Clinical Academic Group said: 'King’s Health Partners is ideally placed to undertake this kind of translational research. As well as being an internationally recognised cancer centre, we have world-leading researchers and clinicians working together, translating the results of research more rapidly into clinical practice.'

The paper BMJ 2010;340:c951, can be viewed on the British Medical Journal website

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