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Preventing Medical Conflicts in the First Place

Preventing Medical Conflicts in the First Place

Does your project try to prevent conflicts as well as resolve them?



Full Transcript

Yes, I think that’s right. We use those mediation skills in lots of different ways. For me, so much of it hinges around how you communicate. If you can teach people to ask . . . if you can teach health professionals to ask the question in a different way, help them say, ask an open question like, “Tell me more about that” rather than give them information, a lot of information and not allow the person in front of them to really open up and tell them what they really worried about. I think there is a lot that you can teach, it doesn’t need to take a very long time, but it can make a huge difference.


Of course the thing that health professionals do and never have enough of, is time, and a lot of those skills actually mean that you spend less time, not more time, because you open up a conversation. Have a better conversation with the parent or the child in front of you than you might have done had you not known those particular skills and I think in this day and age in the Health Service that can only be a good thing.


I think you often find the thing that, I think, we all do it, we ask not one question but many. One after the other. And the person who’s listening will tend to answer the last one. But if you just say “Well tell me more about that” you don’t know what’s going to come at you, but you’re opening the door. And probably the person will tell you what’s uppermost in their mind, if you give them that opportunity.

About the mediator

Sarah Barclay Profile Pic

I set up the Medical Mediation Foundation in 2010, with initial grant-funding from the Department of Health £30 million fund for children’s palliative care projects. This helped us establish a model for a mediation and decision-support service for health professionals and families working with children and enabled us to pilot it in a number of different hospitals. As part of this project we also ran a series of workshops in hospitals and at a ... View Mediator