The National Health Service (NHS) offers a range of services throughout primary and community healthcare, intermediate care and hospital-based care. It also provides information services and support to individuals in relation to health promotion, disease prevention, self-care, rehabilitation and after-care, (DoH, 2009).
The NHS is divided into two sections: primary and secondary care. Primary care is the first point of contact for most people when they first have a health problem. This may involve consulting a doctor, dentist, pharmacist or optician. NHS walk-in centres and the NHS Direct telephone service also comes under primary care (DoH, 2009). Secondary care - known ...view middle of the document...
The multi-disciplinary team (MDT) approach is used in a variety of settings including education and the criminal justice system, with the general theory being, that this approach optimises the resolution of issues from all angles. The MDT concept is particularly used in difficult, multifaceted situations where goals are more likely to be achieved by employing a comprehensive team from diverse disciplines.
In the authors personal experience, it proves beneficial for MDT members to make individual assessments, and frequently discuss findings with one another, to maximise the effectiveness of joint skills, in providing a comprehensive service.
In various literature the terms multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary are used interchangeably to describe the involvement of more than one professional discipline. Squires and Hastings, 2002, differentiate the two: Multi-disciplinary approach - a number of disciplines are involved. Inter-disciplinary approach - those disciplines provide an integrated service. Recently, the term integrated care has also been used, (Diabetes UK, 2010).
Various authors have reported on the importance of team work within the health professions. Squires and Hastings (2002), considered the key function of an MDT, within a healthcare setting, was to provide continuous, accessible and consistent care focused on the needs of individuals. This was supported by Jefferies and Chan (2004), who, when discussing MDT working, stated that it had been endorsed as the main mechanism to ensure a truly holistic approach and a seamless service for patients throughout the course of their treatment, and across the boundaries of primary, secondary, and tertiary care.
For the patient a holistic approach means focusing on a variety of life domains. The team approach should promote coordination and communication and offer the patient one entire package, as opposed to many separate evaluations, interpretations and plans, (Squires and Hastings, 2002).
As well as the benefits to service users, multi-disciplinary working is also described in Hepinstall (1993), as enhancing professional practice by enabling members of the team to broaden their knowledge and develop broader perspectives.
The podiatrists' role is to improve/maintain the mobility, independence and the quality of life for patients by providing education, preventative care, diagnosis and treatment for a variety of problems affecting the feet, ankles and lower limbs.
Podiatrists work within an MDT, with great importance being placed on identification, assessment and evaluation of patients "at risk" of complications. Risk assessment identifies patients that require immediate treatment, and predicts those which may be "at risk". The term ‘at risk’ usually refer those patients at risk of developing ulceration, infection and loss of tissue viability (Yates, 2009).
Lorimer et al claimed that "any patient attending for podiatry treatment is at...