Primary Care Multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs)

A new model for primary care multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs) has been developed.


First Contact Physiotherapists, Social Workers and Mental Health Practitioners will work alongside the existing practice team to provide enhanced access to health and social care services within a primary care setting. 

Patients registered to a MDT practice will be able to book an appointment directly with any of these new services, without first having to see their GP.

MDTs will also have enhanced numbers of Health Visitors and District Nurses, allowing them to spend more time with patients. 

The project will require the recruitment of significant numbers of additional staff to work within GP practices.  To accommodate these additional staff, a significant programme of capital investment in the buildings which house GP practices is accompanying the project. 

The development of MDTs will see GP practices focus not just on managing ill-health, but also on the physical, mental and social wellbeing of communities. 

There will be an increased focus on prevention and early intervention initiatives, with the aim of ensuring that patient’s needs are met at the earliest possible opportunity, reducing the need for onward referrals into secondary care services.

GPs in MDT practices will also see their time utilised more effectively. By ensuring that patients see the most appropriate professional within the primary care setting, GPs can focus on those patients who most urgently require their care.

The development of MDTs was a central element of ‘Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together’

This seeks to transform the way in which health and social care services are delivered in Northern Ireland, with a focus on person-centred care, rather than buildings and structures.  

The MDT project is being funded through the Transformation Programme.

Roll-out of MDTs

MDTs are being rolled out to GP Practices by GP Federation area.  In September 2018, the Department announced that the Down and Derry GP Federations had been chosen for the first stage of the roll out of MDTs. 

Subsequently, in December 2018, it was announced that the West Belfast GP Federation would receive funding to enable the recruitment of physiotherapists in a partial roll out of the model. 

On 15 October 2019, the latest phase of the MDT project was announced.  This brings the initiative to GP Federations covering Causeway and Newry & District.  In addition, West Belfast Federation will receive funding to fully roll out the model in its area.

Project Structure

The MDT project falls within the wider remit of the Transformation Programme. 

The Transformation Implementation Group (TIG Terms of Reference) leads the design, development and implementation of the Transformation Programme and is chaired by the DoH Permanent Secretary. 

Membership of TIG includes leaders and clinicians from across the Department and the Health and Social Care system.

MDT Steering Group

The MDT Steering Group oversees the wider development of the primary care multi-disciplinary team model. 

This comprises representation from:

  • Department of Health
  • Health and Social Care Board
  • Public Health Agency
  • All HSC Trusts
  • GP Federations
  • Third sector organisations
  • Patient and carers

MDT Steering Group Terms of Reference

MDT Regional Project Board

The purpose of the MDT Regional Project Board is to manage the overall implementation of the primary care multi-disciplinary team model across Northern Ireland, in line with the strategic direction set by the MDT Steering Group.  Membership of the Regional Project Board reflects the range of knowledge, skills and experience which will be necessary to support successful implementation of the MDT project. 

MDT Regional Project Board Terms of Reference

Other MDT Project Groups

Sitting under the Regional Project Board, a number of professional sub-groups were established on a task and finish basis.  They are responsible for ensuring that governance and training issues associated with the roll out of new professional roles into MDTs are addressed. 

Terms of reference for each of the sub-groups can be found by clicking on the links below:

Further Information

If you would like to know more about the Primary Care MDT project, please contact:

MDT Project Team
Department of Health
D3, Castle Buildings

MDT Literature and Resources

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