In October 2016, “Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together” a 10-year plan for transforming health and social care in Northern Ireland was launched by the Department of Health (DOH). This plan was the response to a report produced by an Expert Panel led by Professor Bengoa tasked with considering the best configuration of Health and Social Care Services in Northern Ireland. A key element of this plan is the development of multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) of professionals working alongside GPs as first responders in general practice. Following a period of engagement with the Health and Social Care (HSC) system and service users the Department of Health (DOH) proposed that the HSCB commission multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) in General Practice in 2018/19.
These MDTs are intended to deliver the vision set out in “Delivering Together” with an increased emphasis on a holistic model of health and wellbeing which includes physical, mental and social wellbeing with a greater focus on prevention and early intervention. The teams will be community facing and will use community development approaches.
The main role and function of these new multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) is to provide a first contact and brief intervention service to patients presenting in General Practice. Each multidisciplinary team will be made up of GPs, nursing staff, practice based social workers, senior mental health practitioners, pharmacists and physiotherapists.
The Senior Mental Health Practitioner can be from one of four professional backgrounds Social Work, Nursing, Occupational Therapy or Psychology. The Senior Mental Health Practitioner will be an integral part of the MDT working alongside other professionals in a seamless and coordinated way effectively meeting the holistic needs of the GP patient and their families.