Working with the NHS

The Tutu Foundation UK is engaging with key people in the National Health Service to develop tools that will help the NHS overcome some of the significant financial challenges it faces.

The Tutu Foundation UK has developed two unique tools, Conversations for Change and a Mediation Service that can be used together to reduce conflict, significantly improve the effective resolution of disputes, and empower people to improve services to the public and each other.

Using these two tools the Tutu Foundation UK can help the NHS in its conflict management and improve performance in the following areas:

  • Clinical and non-clinical litigation claims involving NHS Trusts & the NHS Litigation Authority.
  • Staff satisfaction, by empowering NHS staff to manage conflict, and reduce bullying and gender and race discrimination.
  • Facilitation of“Whistle-blowing” on poor practice.

The Tutu Foundation’s Mediation Service can support the NHS in two respects:

1. Complaint handling:

By working with the front-line complaint handlers, providing them with additional skills and insights into more effective ways of neutralizing complaints, thereby preventing complaints from escalating into full-blown litigation claims.

2.Litigation of Claims:

By providing independent, trusted, skilled, professionally trained Regent’s University London accredited mediators to mediate in the most intractable and time-consuming disputes – whether internal HR issues, or external negligence claims.

Helping create a more effective NHS

The NHS Litigation Authority continues to pay billions on clinical and non-clinical claims, of which over 1/3 is spent on legal fees. Poor handling of complaints, as for example providing an inadequate apology is the most common reason for complaints escalating to claims, and accounts for 1/3 of all cases. Successive enquiries have highlighted the importance of creating an environment where staff at all levels can highlight failings and best practice without fear or favour.

Successive reports have also highlighted the disparity between the number of women and people from an ethnic minority (BME) in the workforce (41% BME in London) and the proportion of female or ethnic minority Board members (BME - 8% in London), Chief Executives and Chairpersons (BME - 2.5% in London). The CEO of the NHS Simon Stevens has set out to address this disparity as a personal priority.

These three challenges of efficiency, efficacy and equality revolve around the fundamental principals of the Tutu Foundation UK: Inclusion, openness and empowerment, our common humanity, connectedness and interdependence.

Mediation offers a caring and more compassionate way of resolving conflict.It allows parties to be properly heard to and achieve outcomes that a court cannot provide – such as a proper apology or adequate explanation of what went wrong.This benefits families who have a simple need for an apology, as well as helping NHS staff who frequently express a desire to be able “to say sorry”.

Conversations for Change creates a similar safe space for groups of people from different backgrounds with different roles to listen to each other, express themselves and engage in conversations that lead to change. The Conversations for Change programme empowers people at all levels through by teaching skills and facilitating conversations through careful and thoughtful engagement.