Mediation

 

Dr Chris Danbury MB BS M.Phil FRCP FRCA FFICM

Dr Chris Danbury is a Consultant Intensive Care Physician and Expert Witness as well as a highly skilled and experienced Mediator specialising in healthcare mediation.

Dr Danbury is the only practicing doctor recognised by NHS Resolution with the training and skills to mediate in medical negligence cases in the UK.  He has been instructed in cases reaching the High Court, Court of Protection, Coroner’s Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

As well as his extensive medical training he achieved a Masters degree in Medical Law and Ethics and is  also a trained and highly skilled medico legal expert witness.

Mediation is a key component of Dr Danbury’s role as a Consultant Intensive Care Physician and he is frequently called upon to mediate and resolve tense discussions between other clinicians and families about the best interests of individuals who lack the capacity. He is very active in local NHS disputes process.

Dr Danbury regularly lectures on healthcare mediation at National and International meetings and has been interviewed by the BBC to discuss the benefits of healthcare mediation. Notably, in 2014 he was involved in a high-profile legal case as an expert witness in the Court of Protection. The Court had been asked to reach a ruling about the Best Interests of a patient who was close to the end of his life and Dr Danbury was able to help mediate a resolution to the disagreements between the parties.

Benefits of Mediation in Medico Legal Cases

In healthcare disputes, particularly in cases involving medical negligence, claimants are often looking for an explanation as to what happened, an apology from the clinician involved and assurance that measures have been taken to ensure the event will not be repeated. They have usually suffered emotionally as well as physically and an understanding from the clinician involved of what happened and why is often of more importance to the claimant than the financial compensation alone in helping them move on with their lives. However, claimants often find themselves involved in litigation where an explanation and apology is not forthcoming.

Litigation can often lead to a communication vacuum which polarises the parties involved and extends the process of litigation and therefore the stress and other practical and adverse effects of complex and prolonged litigation.

In particular, parties who are seeking redress are often surprised to find this is not available through the Court process and in these cases, mediation may be especially helpful in offering a path to a more compassionate and less adversarial and stressful resolution than litigation alone. Effective mediation can enable the parties to discuss, understand and feel their voice has been heard – sadly this is frequently not the case in the adversarial and jargon-filled framework of the litigation process.

Cost Effective

Mediation can be a very cost-effective way of resolving healthcare disputes.  NHS Resolution ran a pilot mediation scheme in the UK in 2014.  The results were extremely positive, well over half of the claims settled on the day of the mediation or shortly after – achieving significant savings in litigation for both sides.  As a result, in December 2016 the NHS formally launched its mediation scheme which has seen very positive results in bringing about earlier resolution of claims.

The NHS reported in their  2017/18 Annual Report that formal litigation had reduced to its lowest recorded level due to NHS Resolution mediated claims increasing in a single year to more than in its entire history.  It can be argued that historically the NHS has taken a combative approach to litigation requiring them to extend the dispute process before settlements are reached. There is increasingly much more understanding of mediation and a desire to use it by claimants, NHS Trusts and lawyers representing both sides with the aim of helping all parties resolve their differences as early as possible and as a result exercise prudent case-cost management.

It is recommended that in most cases mediation runs alongside the medico legal process and securing a skilled mediator like Dr Danbury who understands the nuances of the NHS and the legal process offers significant benefits for all parties.  Dr Danbury is a member of  the Trust Mediation Panel and the only clinician mediator approved by NHS Resolution. He is happy to discuss without obligation whether he can assist in a medical negligence claim or indeed mediation in any form.

Get in touch with us at info@medicolegal-associates.com or on 0207 118 0650 to discuss a case.