October 23rd | 2018
NHS workplace mediation
Mediation is slowly gaining a reputation as an effective intervention across the NHS - one of the largest and possibly most complex organisations in the UK.
Two main areas in recent reports stand out.
Firstly workplace mediation has been used effectively in many Trusts and most notable to good effect during the large scale merger which created Bart’s Health NHS Trust in London. The complexity of the merger, the different management structures involved, as well as the individual working cultures, loyalties and sheer scale and number of changes for staff, meant high levels of potential conflict
The Trust sought to use mediation as a strategy to manage a high number of these conflicts which they felt was very successful.
In commenting on this scheme and its success in Personnel Today, Timmy Kurtuldum observed that:
"Workplace mediation can be delivered by internal staff trained in mediation techniques working alongside an experienced mediator – but often the approach is most effective when professional mediators are used, because of the complexity and sensitivity of issues, as well as the need for guaranteed impartiality and confidentiality.
According to its calculations, the trust found that 66% of recent cases that had progressed to employment tribunals could have been resolved by mediation. With a mediation scheme in place, it has been estimated that the organisation would save more than £200,000 a year in legal fees, as well as the saving in terms of management time (estimated at about 47 hours for each case).
In the area of clinical negligence claims, NHS Resolution (formerly the NHS Litigation Authority) published its first annual review in July 2018 concluding that “Formal litigation reduced to the lowest recorded level as NHS Resolution mediated more claims in a single year that in its entire history "
This is encouraging news. The length of time a clinical negligence claim can take is famously lengthy when the families are waiting for information and answers and often, an apology. Mediation can deliver these outcomes - as well as negotiate a settlement – and save the public purse millions of pounds.