The NHSLA has announced that following a successful pilot scheme it has launched its new mediation service. The scheme is intended to provide injured claimants with a possible resolution of their claim without the need to litigate the claim through the courts.
Contracts have been awarded to a panel of mediators. Claimant solicitors have long thought that mediation is an ideal way of resolving disputes in Clinical Negligence claims. Mediation has the potential to save costs and avoid protracted heavily disputed and expensive litigation. For a long time, our lawyers at Freeths LLP have routinely offered mediation or arbitration as a way of resolving a dispute but in the past have faced firm resistance from Defendants. We therefore fully endorse and welcome this NHS approved scheme.
Helen Vernon of the NHSLA says about the scheme:
“Mediation is an excellent forum for dispute resolution and provides injured patients and their families with an opportunity for face to face explanations and apologies when things go wrong and reducing the need for unnecessary litigation.”
Our lawyers are often told by clients that one of the most important things they hope to gain by bringing an action is an explanation and answers to their questions about what went wrong with their treatment. Clients often also seek an apology where appropriate, which is often not achieved via formal litigation. If mediation can provide these things as well as compensation then it is something to be very enthusiastic about.
However it remains essential that a Claimant in a Clinical Negligence action has access to skilled, specialist lawyers to analyse evidence and secure fair compensation. It is important to realise that mediation should be used at an appropriate time in a case and this is usually after expert medical evidence has been gathered to assess the injury and the appropriate level damages that should be sought.