Meet the brain tumour service team 

What is the multidisciplinary team (MDT)?

The multidisciplinary team (MDT) is a team of experts with specialist knowledge and skills in the treatment and care of brain tumours. It includes doctors, nurses, therapists and other healthcare professionals. The MDT looks after patients with all types of brain tumours and work out the best way of managing patients in a weekly MDT meeting.

The specialist MDT meeting takes place once a week to discuss patient treatment plans. These discussions are recorded and used to guide your treatment. Your GP will also be sent a copy of this record.

It is important that you understand what your treatment involves. Please feel free to ask questions to clarify anything about your care plan that is not clear. We will do our utmost to answer your questions clearly and honestly.

Listed below are the healthcare professionals who are typically part of the MDT.

  • Neurosurgeons

    A neurosurgeon is a surgical doctor who specialises in surgery of the brain and spine. They are based at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

  • Oncologists

    An oncologist is a doctor who specialises in the treatment of patients using radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

    They are based at University College Hospital and the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre, but they do have some clinics at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

  • Neurologists

    A neurologist is a doctor who specialises in diseases of the brain and nerves. They diagnose and monitor brain tumours that cannot be operated on and manage brain tumour related symptoms such as seizures.

    They can often be based in local hospitals, but most of our neurologists are based at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

  • Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeons

    Ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeons are surgical specialists who diagnose, evaluate and manage a wide range of diseases of the head and neck, including the ear, nose and throat regions.

    Our ENT surgeons are based at Royal National Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital (RNTNE).

  • Neuroradiologists

    A neuroradiologist is a doctor who specialises in the interpretation of radiological examinations such as x-ray and scans.

    The Lysholm Department of Neuroradiology at NHNN has been at the forefront of delivering an imaging service based on advanced imaging in patients with brain and spinal tumours. The department has four MR scanners, one of which is in an operating theatre within the department, allowing intraoperative MR imaging (iMRI).

    The imaging is supported by five clinical scientists, who ensure that the highest quality is maintained and that new techniques are swiftly introduced in the clinical environment.

  • Endocrinologists

    Endocrinologists are doctors who investigate, diagnose and treat disorders of the endocrine (hormonal) system. They are based at University College Hospital and at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery.

  • Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs)

    A clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is a qualified nurse who specialises in the care of patients with a particular type of disease or condition.

    All our CNSs are experienced in neurosurgical and oncology care. Once you have been diagnosed with a brain tumour you will have access to a clinical nurse specialist or a support worker attached to that team.

    They will support you through this time and help navigate you through the journey which is known as a brain tumour pathway. Throughout your pathway they will be a single point of contact for you and your family should you have questions about your diagnosis, issues with your condition or queries about your medication. They will also be able to provide you with information (written and verbal) about your diagnosis and treatment. They will also be able to offer you advice and support or direct you to other support agencies. The CNS works closely with your team and can be contacted outside of your clinic appointments.

    All of the CNSs have direct dial telephone numbers. Your CNS will give you the number when you meet with your team.

    The CNS service can provide support with many aspects of living with a brain tumour such as physical, emotional, social and financial needs.

    Your CNS may use a Holistic Needs Assessment (HNA). This is a process designed to enable you to share information with your team which is important to the treatment and care you receive. You do not have to have a HNA but many people find it opens up discussions with their team about their concerns which may not be otherwise raised.

    If you feel a HNA would be helpful please talk to your CNS.

  • Your 'key worker'

    A key worker is a healthcare professional who is highly involved in your care and will also lead on specific aspects of your care.

    This role of key worker may transfer from one professional to another at different times during your care.

    A key worker can be any member of the MDT, but you will also have access to a CNS. Your CNS may also be your key worker.

  • Neurotherapists

    A neurotherapist is a therapist who specialises in the assessment and treatment of patients with disabilities and caused by brain or spine problems.

  • Neuropsychologists

    Brain tumours and their treatment can cause problems with cognition, mood or behaviour. Cognition includes the ability to learn and remember, plan and organise, solve problems and understand information. Changes in mood and behaviour include depression, anxiety, irritability and mood swings. The neuropsychologist will help to identify and characterise these problems.

    A neuropsychological assessment will assess different aspects of your cognition and behaviour, and will involve asking you to do a variety of paper and pencil tests. The assessment can take up to two hours. It can help explain why certain thinking tasks are difficult for you. This makes it possible to discuss strategies to minimise the impact of any cognitive problems, as well as to offer psychological support and advice to you or your family and help with specific emotional problems, if they are also present.

  • Palliative Care

    A palliative care specialist is a doctor who assesses and manages the symptoms of brain tumours, usually towards the end of life.

  • Neuropathologists

    A neuropathologist is a pathologist who specialises in the examination of tissue of the brain or spine removed during an operation.

    Our neuropathology department delivers top quality neuro-oncology diagnostic services whilst meeting all critical key performance indicators. The molecular pathology service is a leading service in the UK and provides extensive, clinically relevant molecular profiling of high grade and low grade gliomas, thus greatly facilitating identification and inclusion of patients into clinical trials.

  • Administration

    Our MDT coordinators and administrative staff help us ensure that referrals and scans we receive from other hospitals are available for the MDT meetings. They also ensure that the MDT discussion is then communicated to your hospital team as well as your GP.

    The secretarial staff can help with appointments and scans or provide you access to your medical team if necessary.