A report published last week by Cancer Research UK describes the growing pressure that increasing numbers of cancer patients are placing on cancer Multi Disciplinary Team (MDT) meetings.

MDT meetings are considered a gold-standard in cancer care – they bring together experts from a range of disciplines to help reduce variation in access to care. The Cancer Research UK report highlights that in 2014-15 there were 1.4 million discussions about cancer patients in MDT meetings across the UK. This represents a 20% year on year rise since 2011. On average, only three experts were contributing to the discussions that take place at these meetings, and occasionally only one or two experts contribute, with some discussions being delayed due to the lack of appropriate experts.

The report recommends a reassessment of which patients are discussed in these meetings, since some patients may need much simpler treatment plans. The report also suggests a reassessment of which experts need to attend meetings, since many do not need to be there for the duration of the meeting.

Commenting on the report Professor Arnie Purushotham, Director of King’s Health Partners Cancer Centre said, “Patients are our priority and these MDT meetings give a fantastic opportunity to bring expertise from across the board to recommend the best treatment for our patients. However, this report importantly highlights the need to refresh these meetings.”

Read the Cancer Research UK press release here