A panel of top medical, legal and public health experts created to explore whether Mediation could help resolve disputes between patients and the Health Service in Scotland, is inviting views from members of the public. The independent, expert review group, set up by The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) will assess whether a process of Mediation could be of benefit to the individual in dispute with the NHS in Scotland, to the Health Service and to the public purse. The hope is that this could be less distressing and less expensive, than the current process for all concerned. Mediation may open up the possibility of explanation, assurance, apology, review of procedures and implementation of future treatment. The mediation process might also lead to payment of compensation, although research indicates that claimants often want no more than an explanation and, where appropriate, an apology.
The Group’s Chairman, Lord Ross, Vice-President of The Royal Society of Edinburgh said:
By offering the opportunity of settling claims without resort to litigation, mediation may lead to the earlier resolution of disputes, save time and money, and lessen the stress suffered by both sides in the patient-doctor relationship. Our group is looking into the effectiveness of this process and the input of members of the public with experience of mediation, or views on it, would be very valuable in informing our view.
Chaired by one of Scotland’s foremost legal experts, The Rt. Hon. Lord Ross, Former Lord Justice Clerk of Scotland; the independent review group plans to take evidence throughout Scotland from a wide range of professional bodies. The panel is expected to make recommendations based on its findings in a report due to be published in January 2002. The Scottish Executive has endorsed the "considerable merit" of creating the review panel and seconded a member of its staff to act as Secretary to the group. The expert panel is being funded by The Royal Society of Edinburgh, The Scottish Executive and the Medical & Dental Defence Union.
Prompted by a symposium on Medical Practice and the Growth of Litigation in the UK, held at the RSE in June 2000, the panel met for the first time at the end of last month at the RSE.
The Members of the Independent Review Group will include:
Biographical Details – Lord Ross PC, FRSE
Donald MacArthur Ross was born in Dundee and educated at Dundee High School and Edinburgh University. Lord Ross passed advocate and became a QC in 1964. He has been Sheriff Principal of Ayr and Bute, Dean of the Faculty of Advocates and a Senator of the College of Justice. From 1985-1997, he was Lord Justice Clerk; 1990-1991, he was Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and since 1997 has been Chairman of the Judicial Studies Committee for Scotland. He became a Privy Counsellor in 1985 and was elected fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1988, where he is now Vice-President. Lord Ross is married with two daughters and five grandchildren.