Monday, 24 September 2012

NHS Survey Reveals Greater Trust in Mediation

Mediation Plus - the community mediation service for Eastbourne and Wealden - has welcomed the results of a new survey of NHS Trusts across the country has shown that mediation is gaining in both popularity and credibility within the healthcare sector.

Of the 133 Trusts which responded to the survey conducted by the TCM Group, 83% are already using mediation to resolve workplace disputes, with 87% of those reporting a significant reduction in the number of grievances.  Some 43% of Trusts reported a fall in the number of employment tribunals they had to defend, a statistic they attribute directly to the introduction of a mediation scheme.

Evidence from the survey suggests that that NHS Trusts are using mediation to secure positive outcomes within an increasingly complex and challenging range of conflicts and change processes. Trusts reported that they were using mediation to resolve disputes between colleagues, as well as managing conflict between healthcare professionals, patients and their families.

Disputes within the NHS, like so many other sectors, are damaging, destructive and a significant distraction at times of major change and transformation. With such negative impacts, it seems that many Trusts feel that enough is enough and are turning to mediation as an exciting alternative which it seems is delivering significant benefits. The outcomes being reported from mediation are impressive and NHS staff are seeing that mediation can produce very creative solutions to systemic problems by engaging everyone.

Mediation Plus Service Manager Clive Gross said “The results of this survey demonstrates that using mediation can result in less time is being spent dealing with grievances and litigation, resulting in reduced costs on tribunal hearings and reduced stress on all parties involved. Finding solutions that everyone agrees to and are not imposed from above leads to increased levels of wellbeing and productivity, which are major benefits to the NHS or any organisation looking to resolve disputes in a non-confrontational way.”

Mediation Plus offers both workplace mediation to local organisations and businesses, and accredited mediation skills training to managers and other employees who have to deal with the public or handle complaints. This includes other areas of the healthcare sector including providers of care and nursing homes.

Gill Bellord, Head of employee relations at NHS Employers is particularly enthusiastic about the role of mediation. “NHS Employers support the increased use of mediation in the NHS as an effective means of resolving complaints, managing change and handling workplace disputes. There are benefits in terms of outcomes, maintaining on-going relationships and value for money.”

For more information about the mediation services and training available locally, call Mediation Plus on 01323 442781 or visit our main website.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Mediation Service Raises Planning Permission Holiday Concerns

Mediation Plus, the community mediation service for Eastbourne and Wealden, is concerned that Government plans announced last week to relax planning permission requirements for property extensions may trigger a wave of disputes among local residents.
The service – which has been providing independent and impartial community mediation since 2006 – deals with an average of 120 cases each year. Among the most common causes of disputes between home owners are parking, boundaries and extensions such as conservatories and garages. The plans announced last week would allow extensions of up to 6 meters – double the current limit – to be built without local planning consent.
Service Manager Clive Gross said “While the current planning process may seem cumbersome for small developments like conservatories and garages, it does at least provide a mechanism for genuine concerns about the impact of these works to be properly considered. Any extension larger than the current three meter rule may have significant implications for the occupiers of the adjoining properties in terms of outlook and privacy. Doubling the threshold seems to suggest that planners should only get involved when the damage is potentially already done.”
Statistics from the Local Government Association show that the proportion of planning applications approved by town halls has risen over the past decade, reaching 87% last year. Home owners who may previously have had planning permission refused for legitimate reasons may now decide to exploit the proposed planning permission ‘holiday’ to go ahead with these schemes.
Mr Gross continued “Mediation is a very effective way of resolving disputes, especially if people come to us early before issues escalate. Unfortunately, once a building is up it is usually too late and arguments can even turn violent. We hope the very short public consultation process being scheduled for these proposals will allow the Government to reflect fully on their implications.”