We have been asked recently about the difference in the role of the Multi-Disciplinary Team co-ordinator and a Multi-Disciplinary assessor – and can they ever be the same person?
So, let us explain….
If your relative passes the initial Checklist, the matter should be referred to a coordinator at the Clinical Commissioning Group, who then has the responsibility of arranging a full assessment for eligibility of their health needs at a Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) meeting.
Essentially, the coordinator’s role is to find appropriate assessors to attend the MDT on behalf of the CCG, coordinate a suitable date for the MDT meeting to take place, gather assessments and as much other information as possible from professionals involved in the individual’s care prior to the Meeting, and of course invite the individual and their representative(s) to attend.
Make sure you are involved in this process and are given adequate notice of the MDT meeting so that you can attend. Read our blog What Happens At The Multi-Disciplinary Team Meeting for more useful information.
The MDT Panel
The MDT panel of assessors should consist of people treating or supporting the individual and who are therefore familiar with their daily health needs.
The NHS National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare specifically states that the assessors should be “knowledgeable about the individual’s health and social needs, and where possible have recently been involved in the assessment, treatment or care of the individual”.
The coordinator is responsible for bringing these people together to make the assessment meaningful.
The coordinator is usually a member of the CCG’s staff, but they can be from an external organisation such as the Local Authority, an NHS Trust or an independent sector organisation.
Note: The coordinator is supposed explain the process to the individual and advise as to ways in which they (and their family) can participate in the MDT, including the ability to have advocacy help – and even though you will be no doubt told you don’t need support, you might find a professional advocate invaluable at this important juncture of the process. We have considered the role of advocacy in a recent blog.
The Primary Role of the Coordinator
The coordinator should support the MDT assessors; help them understand their role in this process; and ensure that they complete the Decision Support Tool (DST) following the MDT meeting. However, you would have expected that the assessors attending the MDT would have had sufficient training and already be familiar with their role, the principles of the NHS National Framework (and the Coughlan case) – but don’t be surprised if that is not the case!
What About Conflicts Of Interest?
The coordinator is supposed to be acting as an impartial resource to the MDT, both to help the individual and the assessors on any issues as to policy or procedural questions that may arise. Sometimes the coordinator can also be a member of the MDT assessment panel too!
This could present an obvious conflict of interest.
The coordinator is, nevertheless, permitted to contribute to the decision making process and make recommendations to the CCG as to eligibility. To avoid any potential conflict of interest, the coordinator must declare this dual role and keep their specific functions separate.
Other Roles of the Coordinator
A coordinator should also try and ensure that the DST is completed as soon as possible after the MDT, and when available, check it to confirm that sufficient evidence and a clear rationale to support the recommendations exists before submitting it to the CCG panel for their consideration and ratification.
The coordinator is also responsible for communicating the CCGs outcome on eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding in a timely manner. There is no set timescale imposed and much really depends on how quickly the CCG panel can review the matter. This can be the next day or even some many weeks later – it all depends on the CCG and their available resources.
If you are not happy with any aspect of the process or the MDT meeting, you can take the matter up with the coordinator who should try and address and resolve those concerns.
Look at our helpful blog on Attending the Multi-Disciplinary Team meeting – some useful guidance