One particularly difficult issue that can intrude into anyone’s life is obtaining redress when something has gone wrong with the delivery of health care.
The National Health Service is, without a doubt, a national treasure of which we can feel enormously proud but, like any huge and complex organisation, it is not immune from making mistakes. Tragically, when dealing with the health and wellbeing of individuals, those mistakes can have catastrophic results, and those results can be felt not only by a patient, but also by their family and friends.
We have conducted many mediations surrounding various aspects of health care, and these have often involved complex issues of treatment regimes and procedures. Invariably they have been involved deeply felt emotional hurt. Many cases involving health care proceed down the litigation route, but often the patients and their families prefer to avoid the lengthy and expensive legal process in favour of the quicker, more flexible and more cost effective option of mediation.
At Hampshire Mediation we work together with patients, relatives and healthcare providers, both within the NHS and the private sector, to resolve differences and reach agreement following an incident, or simply following a difference of opinion. Typically these disputes may involve allegations of medical malpractice, issues over access to particular types of treatment, care of the elderly or severely handicapped, professional misconduct, use of services or treatment outcomes.
Our mediators work together with all the parties involved to satisfactorily address the issues underlying the dispute in a clear and simple manner. This can often involve NHS professionals explaining issues that have previously been misunderstood, in simple plain language. The flexibility of the mediation process allows the participants to arrive at solutions which may not be available to the courts, including, at the need for acknowledgement of shortcomings and the offer and acceptance of apologies, and undertakings to change procedures and practices to preclude a repeat of a particular outcome. The openness and transparency of the mediation process allows patients and relatives to explore what, for most, will be an entirely unfamiliar area, and to do it in a safe and neutral environment assisted by the mediator, and we have found that this leads to a great feeling of empowerment for patients and relatives who may have felt that they were being ignored, or that their concerns were not being taken seriously.
Dealing with a large and complex organisation like the NHS can be a daunting prospect. At Hampshire Mediation we work with all parties to ensure that it is a simple and straightforward as possible.