Civil Mediation Council

Our Chairman in The Times today

7th April 2016

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See the link below to Sir Alan Ward's letter, published in The Times today on page 26, in relation to medical mistakes and text below.

Letter to the Times from Sir Alan Ward 7th April 2016

Sir, Unfortunately doctors do make mistakes, some, but not all, as a result of clinical negligence (Opinion, Apr 4, and letters, Apr 5 & 6). Lessons can be learnt from all of them. Victims and their families suffer, and in this climate of compensation the instinctive response is to seek compensation. The consequence of this is much anxiety for everybody, long delay and disproportionate cost. Millions of pounds which can be so much better spent by the straitened NHS are wasted on legal fees.

Mediation is proven to save time and money and to provide an outcome with which both sides can live. Why then are early attempts at mediation not made mandatory? A confidential meeting gives the doctors the opportunity to explain, and, freed from the shackles of the insurers, to apologise where an avoidable mistake was made.

Genuine openness and honesty deflate mistrust and blame: a full explanation can transform catastrophe into a sad accident.

Sir Alan Ward

Chairman, Civil Mediation Council, and retired Lord Justice of Appeal