Creating a psychologically safe space for clinical teams

by Oscar Mathew, MMF Director

Oscar Mathew

When mediating between two people, the main challenge is working with two narratives that don’t align.

We find conflict such a challenge because we think we’re right, and the other person is the problem. They think they’re right, and (cue audible gasp) we’re the problem. And the clincher: neither person’s conclusion, looking at the territory in front of them, makes sense to the other person.

Resolving conflict between two people is a challenge, often a pronounced one. So what happens when instead of two narratives you have twelve? How do you even start righting the ship with such complexity present?

Challenging the mediation myths

by Dr Clare Sieber Dr Clare Sieber

Why you should consider mediation (even if your lawyer seems reluctant!).

I recently stumbled across this article: Why Lawyers Don't use Mediation. Although it is based on a survey of Scottish lawyers, the arguments - or myths as I would prefer to call them - against mediation are well rehearsed and relevant across the whole of the UK. As a mediator, I felt I should present the counter arguments to these myths, based on my own experience.

The challenge of stepping back

by Dr Esse Menson, MMF associate trainer and mediator

One of the key principles of conflict resolution is for us to be able to accept that conflict is more about different perspectives than about right and wrong. This is much easier to do when we are calm because then we are more able to accept the truths and merits of those other perspectives. More willing to appreciate them even though they may be very different from ours.

Letter from Australia

MMF’s Australia Associate Sue Mcnaughton, reports on a recent case which highlights how communication breakdown contributed to the tragic death of a child

On April 3rd 2021, a seven year old girl called Aishwarya Aswath died from sepsis after a two hour wait in the emergency department of Perth Children’s Hospital, one of Australia’s leading children’s hospitals. Her parents repeatedly but unsuccessfully, tried to engage with the medical staff on duty as they observed the rapid deterioration in their daughter’s condition.

This tragic case highlights the potential risks of failing to provide caring health professionals with specific training in listening and responding to, the concerns of parents, particularly in situations of acute anxiety and distress.

The hospital-led Inquiry into Aishwarya’s death identified a “lack of recognition of persistent and significant parental concerns as a significant clinical concern to be escalated” which “resulted in a delay in treatment which may have contributed to the patient’s outcome”.

When Aishwarya’s family were asked to share their concerns and perceptions with the Independent Inquiry into her death which followed, “they expressed anguish, anger and disbelief. Urgency, communication and compassion were felt to have been inadequate.” The Independent inquiry also described “gaps in communications, perceived attitudes, engagement, compassion and empathy”

One of the most striking aspects of the independent inquiry’s report is its focus on the connection between failures in communication and increased clinical risk.

Judicial review, or mediation... or both?

How mediation can help when judicial review seems like the only option, in health and social care

By Arabella Tresilian, MMF Associate Mediator

The last two years of pandemic have directed a spotlight on the world-class services provided to the UK by our health and social care providers, and on the dedicated professionals who make those services available to us.

At the Medical Mediation Foundation, we have also seen at close hand how the pressures of Covid-19, with their consequent strains on systems and resources, have resulted in disputes and conflicts, causing distress for all involved, whether patient, professional, relative or carer.

At times, the courts are called upon to resolve disputes about the decisions and actions of health and social care organisations in the public sphere. Mediation is a dispute resolution option that can be used effectively in health and social care, before, during or after court proceedings.

Here we encourage public service professionals, public law practitioners and individuals to explore the efficacious option of mediation and the role it can play, with regards to judicial review.