The Department of Health and the Mental Health Team from the Department of Social Care have officially launched an internal mediation service for staff called ‘Mediators for Health’.
The launch follows a period of training and assessment for a group of 15 members of staff from both Departments who have now received accreditation to provide a Mediation Service to fellow staff from these Departments, within the workplace. The training and assessment was provided by UK company TCM Ltd (Total Conflict Management Ltd) and accreditation is with the Open College Network.
Minister for Health, David Anderson MHK said: “Conflict is a fact of life and occurs in both our private and professional lives. So we can’t shy away and pretend it doesn’t exist. The important thing is to recognise conflict and ensure that the organisation supports staff in resolving these sorts of situations. What this scheme looks to do is use our own internal resources to resolve conflict. Mediation is proven to be more effective than more old fashioned adversarial approaches such as grievance procedures. I’m delighted that the Department of Health and our Social Care colleagues are leading the way with this on the Island.
“Mediation is growing in popularity and success and the UK Government is also investing in mediation as a form of conflict resolution. Ensuring we have a productive work force is key to our success and we need to ensure that the processes we have to deal with conflict make things better for all parties, not worse. I’d like to extend my congratulations to the 15 staff who have qualified as mediators. Improving the outcomes of conflict can only help us in delivering a first class service to the public.”
Mediation is defined as a process of dispute resolution whereby a neutral third party is invited to intervene in a workplace situation to assist with the constructive resolution of a specific dispute. The idea of mediation is to avoid the emotional distress and costs involved in lengthy grievance and disciplinary procedures, by providing early intervention in conflict and allowing parties to reach a mutually satisfactory solution to their problem without any judgements about who is right or wrong. The process is purely voluntary and wholly confidential.
An awareness campaign is accompanying the launch, where the concept and benefits of workplace mediation will be explained to staff and managers as well as providing details of how the service can be accessed. In addition, conflict management training will commence early in 2012, with the aim of equipping staff and managers with skills to deal with conflict proactively and positively.
Bev Critchlow, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Therapies, said: “We are very aware of both the emotional and financial costs of unresolved conflict in the workplace and the provision of a Mediation Service is a huge step forward to helping our staff to work in an environment that is healthy and safe. It is important for staff to be happy in work both for their own sakes and also so that they can provide the very best care to our patients and their families. I would like to congratulate our team of Mediators for successfully completing this very comprehensive training and assessment programme and wish them every success.”