The NHS Litigation Authority has teamed up with the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) to launch a pilot mediation service for claims against the health service.
Mediation conducted by a CEDR-accredited mediator will be available for all suitable claims involving a fatality (infant or elderly) or the care of the elderly.
CEDR says that approximately 75% of its mediations result in a satisfactory outcome within a single day, with a further 20% settling within 30 days or least narrowing the issues to a more manageable level.
The NHSLA emphasised that both the healthcare provider and the patient/their family will still be able to go to court if they are not happy with the outcome.
Chief executive Catherine Dixon said: “Our new mediation service has been designed to support patients, families and NHS staff to work together to resolve claims for below standard NHS care. We hope that it will help patients, their families and NHS staff resolve concerns quickly and cost effectively whilst also enabling all the parties to meet to have their say without the need to go to court.
Dr Karl Mackie, chief executive of CEDR, added: “Of the many mediation initiatives CEDR has worked on in the last two decades this must count as one of most important in the UK, with real potential to revolutionise the way in which disputes with the NHS are resolved to the benefit of all concerned.”
The NHSLA said it will evaluate the outcome of all mediations to inform and develop its approach to future mediation services.