Throughout my career as a doctor I have witnessed my fair share of disputes, not only between professionals, patients and families, but also between colleagues, organisations and institutions. In my experience, when disputes are not dealt with appropriately, they can often escalate, sometimes with severe consequences. I thus feel that methods of dispute resolution need to be understood better by healthcare professionals, and mediation is one that I feel should be more widely utilised, ideally proactively and in the early stages of a dispute. It is increasingly apparent that doctors of all ranks and specialities are increasingly in the spotlight, and by the nature of our work we are often involved or implicated in disputes, non-resolution of which can have devastating personal and professional implications. As disputes in clinical and other types of medical practice are not likely to disappear any time soon, means of resolving these using approaches with high success rates should be welcomed; my personal knowledge and experience of mediation suggests that this is a useful approach that should be understood, embraced and applied more widely. I look forward to assisting colleagues in this established means of resolving disputes and helping to achieve mutually acceptable outcomes.
Consultant psychiatrist with extensive medicolegal, managerial and judicial expertise acting as medical consultant to ASM and an accomplished linguist and academic.