Medical Negligence Mediations Moved Online during Pandemic

Roisin Hulme, Solicitor
Author:
Roisin Hulme
Medical Negligence Solicitor
Date:
01/09/2020

Mediation can be a crucial part of settling medical negligence claims, helping both sides reach a positive outcome in an open, honest and non-confrontational setting.

However, the restrictions imposed by the UK Government because of the Coronavirus pandemic mean mediation meetings can’t currently be handled face-to-face, as they usually would be.

Despite these restrictions, our specialist Medical Negligence Solicitors have worked closely with the NHS to make sure mediation remains an option for settling claims. By using video conferencing systems, we’ve been able to continue working with the NHS to achieve the best outcomes for our clients.

What is Mediation?

The mediation process sees all parties to a medical negligence claim meet alongside an independent mediator, so they can discuss the claim and the areas of dispute which may prevent a settlement. Since mediation encourages constructive engagement between both sides, rather than a confrontation, we’re keen supporters of this approach.

How Can Mediation Work During Pandemic?

Mediation typically takes place face-to-face, but current Coronavirus restrictions mean this isn’t practical at the moment. However, our Medical Negligence Solicitors have adapted to the situation, and worked with the NHS to set up mediation sessions using video conferencing.

We recently settled a case in which an NHS Trust accepted that mistakes had been made with our client’s treatment.

However, the Trust didn't accept they were entirely responsible for the situation - a common situation in medical negligence cases, and often it can take many months, if not years, to agree the level of compensation to be paid, with both sides obtaining various expert reports seek to reinforce their client's position.  

As a result, both we and the NHS Trust were keen to explore mediation at an early stage, and didn’t want to wait until a face-to-face meeting was possible. So we both agreed that this should be carried out through a video conferencing service.

This had several advantages. Firstly, the conference could go ahead without any delays, and secondly, it meant our client could attend from his own home, so he could avoid extra stress and the formality of going to the mediation in person.

The mediation was concluded within a morning, as both parties took a sensible approach to negotiations and both legal teams were very experienced in dealing with cases of this nature. This was also a deeply emotive claim, so it was very much in our client's best interests to achieve a quick resolution on the day.

It’s good to see that mediation has become much more commonly used in settling claims against the NHS in the last few years. As Medical Negligence Solicitors, we want to work, where possible, in collaboration with the NHS to settle compensation claims and to ensure that lessons are learnt. Neither we nor our clients have any interest in a confrontation or a lengthy dispute. We simply want the best outcomes for the people we represent who’ve been injured by negligent medical care.

By taking a collaborative approach, we achieved a positive compensation settlement for our claimant, and made sure the legal fees remained reasonable.

Mediation gives claimants, patients and their loved ones a valuable chance to engage directly with the NHS, so they can raise concerns and receive explanations and apologies in a setting that promotes discussion, rather than confrontation.

That often means key concerns that may not be addressed in other forms of dispute resolution can be highlighted and hopefully dealt with.

For more information on mediation and claiming medical negligence compensation, please call us or request a call below.

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