According to Madge and Khair (2000) the renewed interest in various practitioners working together in physiotherapy teams has led to many definitions and descriptions, including 'multi-professional' (Cott 1997), 'interprofessional' (Barr 1997) and 'trans-professional' (Rosen et al 1998). Madge and Khair (2000) suggest that despite the varying terminology and differing definitions it is of paramount importance that professionals are able to identify their places within 'the group' and their roles with patients. Lack of understanding by practitioners of the definitions and values associated with the three main differing approaches to team-working can be seen as contributing to lack of clarity and potential confusion.
According to Porter-O'Grady (1995): 'In today's team-based organisations there are many issues that have to be addressed to ensure effectiveness The greatest problem in these emerging multiprofessional physiotherapy teams is their ability to deliberate and interact in a way that results in a valid and timely outcome.'
Lary et al (1997) suggest that primary care today and in the future is dependent on both accurate diagnosis and coordinated treatment plans. They believe that in 'today's high tech primary care environments' there are critical requirements for primary care practitioners not only to be able to communicate effectively but to be able to integrate sources of patient information available to them. This will help practitioners co-ordinate and implement complete or holistic treatment plans for all patients. Therefore, the need to utilise the expertise of all primary care team members is vital in order to benefit the patient. In essence there is a need for practitioners not just to provide a holistic approach to care/treatment, but also to blur the boundaries of professional practice; to be able to think, problem-solve and understand key multi-professional issues within the scope of their own professional practice.
Wiles and Robinson (1994) provide a broader definition of team-work within primary care, without specifically referring to either multi-professional, inter-professional or trans-professional working: 'Teamwork has come to be seen as a group of people at or from primary care practice with common health goals and objectives.'
When developing a physiotherapy team approach to practice a vital element is that team members all share common values and beliefs in