NHSLA Embracing Mediation in 2017
The NHSLA Chief Executive, Helen Vernon, recently featured in APIL’s PI Focus magazine, explaining the new mediation scheme implemented by her organisation.
Helen confirmed that, in 2015/2016, almost £3billion of clinical negligence claims were presented against the NHS in England. Compensation of almost £950.4 million was awarded during this period, with a further £23 million for non-clinical negligence claims against the NHS.
Interestingly Helen confirmed that fewer than 2% of the cases presented against the NHSLA reach a formal court hearing.
In Helen’s own words, “going to court is financially and emotionally costly – and can be very daunting to claimants and their families…. Mediation, on the other hand, is a process where a satisfactory outcome can be rated for all those involved in a single day.”
Helen recognises that mediation allows the parties the opportunity to reach a solution which is not solely financial – such as providing the platform for a formal apology to be made or for an explanation of what went wrong and why. Often in clinical negligence cases this is just as important as the award of any compensation.
It is important to note that choosing to go to mediation will not prevent a party from subsequently issuing court proceedings if the mediation is not successful.
NHSLA MEDIATION SCHEME
The NHSLA launched a mediation trial scheme on 31 July 2014, with the final mediation in the scheme performed in March 2016. Feedback was positive – 81% of mediations were successful. A review of the statistics reveal that 61% of mediations resolved o the day of the mediation, with a further 20% settling shortly afterwards.
Following the successful pilot scheme the NHSLA launched a formal mediation service on 05 December 20216. Such is their confidence in the benefits of mediation, the NHSLA will pay the full mediation fee where liability is admitted in full or even only partially admitted. Where liability is disputed, the NHSLA will pay 50% of the mediation fee. There is no limit on the maximum number of cases that might be referred to mediation under this scheme.
If nothing else it is heartening to see the NHSLA embrace mediation. It is more encouraging that this approach has been taken after the NHSLA has experienced first hand evidence of the benefits and savings mediation can offer.
For an experienced organisation such as the NHSLA to first trial mediation and then commit to a formal scheme only serves to highlight the benefits of mediation. Don’t forget, in 2015/16 almost £3bn worth of claims were presented to the NHSLA so they are vastly experienced in dealing with litigation.
Everything that is written above can be applied to any other dispute. Mediation offers a way for parties to find a solution quickly and inexpensively. To discuss mediation, or if you have any queries, please feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.