NHS Resolution has added one provider to its mediation panel following what it said was a “highly competitive retender” process that saw the existing three reappointed.
The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) and Trust Mediation will continue to mediate the substantive disputes arising from personal injury and clinical negligence incidents and claims, while Costs ADR and newcomer St John’s Buildings Limited will mediate costs disputes.
They will all be paid on a fixed-fee basis.
The claims mediation service was originally launched in December 2016 and has since successfully mediated over 1,000 claims made against NHS organisations.
In the past year, 80% of the more than 400 cases mediated were settled either on the day itself or within 28 days.
An evaluation of the mediation scheme published by NHS Resolution earlier this year found “overwhelming evidence of the benefits of mediation, for patients, families and NHS staff”.
It said: “Whilst mediation can be employed for all types of claims, the use of mediation should be tailored for greater effect. The analysis of the data revealed that a significant number of mediations took place after legal proceedings had been commenced and a directions timetable set by the court. The case costs invariably become more expensive after proceedings are commenced.
“Mediation as an intervention can be more effective if carried out at an earlier stage in the lifecycle of the claim.”
There was, it added, an underuse of mediation for personal injury claims and costs disputes. “The promotion of the benefits of mediation in these areas should be explored further.”
The research showed that, in the few cases where claimants were not represented at the mediation, 46% did not settle; the figure was only 19% were they were represented.
It also revealed that the highest probability of settling on the day was when neither claimant nor defendant counsel attend.
“[This] appears to give credence to the view that the attendance of counsel is not necessary for every mediation. However, it remains appropriate to instruct counsel to attend complex, high value, and multi-party mediations.”
In a statement on the new panel, NHS Resolution said: “Even though the vast majority of claims made against NHS providers are resolved without formal court proceedings (over 70% in 2018/19), as an organisation we remain committed to reducing the number of cases going into formal litigation even further…
“The reasons why claims continue to go to court are varied. However, research carried out by the Behavioural Insights Team (a research agency partnered with the Cabinet Office) suggests that one of the key drivers for compensation claims is poor communication and a lack of explanation as to why a clinical incident occurred in the first place.”