What is the Private Healthcare Mediation Scheme?

Private Healthcare Mediation is managed independently by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), an Alternative Dispute Resolution provider.  For this scheme, we provide independent mediation (over the phone) between subscribing organisations and their patients if they are unable to resolve their complaints directly through the organisation's own complaints procedure

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) encourages (as a matter of good practice) all independent healthcare providers to offer an independent external review stage that can provide patients with a route to resolve a complaint if it is not resolved via the providers' in-house complaints process. One independent adjudication scheme for private healthcare is the Independent Sector Complaints Adjudication Service (ISCAS) which is hosted within CEDR. Subscribing to ISCAS requires independent healthcare providers to adopt the ISCAS Code which mandates a strict three-stage complaints process but small independent healthcare providers and sole practitioners may not be able to operate under the code due to limited resources and the number of personnel employed. In order to ensure patients of these providers can access alternative dispute resolution, CEDR has established the Private Healthcare Mediation Scheme in collaboration with ISCAS.

Whether by telephone, online platform such as Zoom, or face to face, mediation is a negotiation between two parties who cannot agree, assisted by party.

When complaining about a healthcare professional or a private hospital or clinic, patients often want more than just compensation.  It can be as much about one or more of the following:

  • having a chance to express the impact of what has happened and feeling properly listened to by an independent person
  • having your concerns acknowledged
  • where it seems right, to receive an apology – both for what went wrong and, perhaps, for how long it has taken for a meeting to be set up
  • getting a frank and clear explanation about what happened and why
  • being reassured that lessons have been learned to prevent anything like this from happening to others.

All these topics can be included in a mediation.

  • You get the chance to have your say to a neutral trained mediator who has no vested interest in the outcome of the complaint but who is committed to helping both parties to find a mutually acceptable resolution to the complaint
  • A mediation can be set up quickly and you can get closure within a day.  Other processes can drag on for months with no certainty of outcome
  • You are in control of your complaint.  No third party will enforce a solution on you – you will be able to agree to a final settlement or decide not to agree and pursue a different dispute resolution process such as the ISCAS Complaints Adjudication Service.
  • No one gives evidence under oath
  • No one is cross-examined
  • No one has to meet or talk with anyone where they would prefer not to
  • No one is compelled to do anything – all participation is voluntary
  • No one has to settle if they decide they would prefer to go to court
  • No one can be criticised later for not settling, and nothing raised for the first time or any offers discussed at the mediation can be used in later proceedings such as ISCAS Stage 3 Adjudication
  • The mediator does not act as a judge to decide a winner and loser and does not tell anyone that their case is right or wrong.

The mediator will have a brief conversation with you prior to the mediation just to talk you through what will happen during the mediation.

Think in advance about:

  • What you would like to say to the other party about what happened
  • What you would like to hear from the other party
  • What you would like to achieve if possible during and as a result of the mediation.

The mediation will be held on the telephone or using an online platform such as Zoom, on a date pre-agreed with you, the Independent Healthcare Provider (IHP) and the mediator.  In this case, the mediator will set a time in advance of your first private discussion and will then arrange other calls with both parties during the three hours allocated.  It may be that there is also a joint conference call but that is often not necessary.  Everything you discuss with the mediator will be in total confidence unless you give permission for the mediator to discuss with the other side.

Proposals for settlement will be made through the mediator once he/she believes the parties are ready to discuss settlement options.  The mediator cannot advise you on an actual offer but might make suggestions to help you best articulate it or how best to respond to any proposal.

If agreement is reached, the terms will be written down and signed on behalf of each party.

Ineligible Cases could include:

  • Complaints involving more than one Complainant or one IHP
  • Complaints related to employment, personal injury, defamation or clinical negligence

For ineligible cases, CEDR may be able to offer an alternative service independent of this scheme.  Please contact the CEDR office for details: [email protected] or Tel: 020 7536 6060 for the CEDR Commercial Team. Alternatively, contact the CEDR Consumer Team on Tel: 020 7520 3800.

CEDR will consider non-complex cases where adjudication may not be applicable.  However, mediation may be particularly useful for situations where Complainants have withheld payment for services received, or where Complainants seek refunds of fees paid which are beyond the scope of other schemes such as ISCAS.

If you want to complain about CEDR please read our Complaints Procedure document. Once you have read the Complaints Procedure and you want to submit your complaint, please use our Complaint Form below. 

Complaints Procedure

Complaint Form

Independent Reviewer's Terms of Reference

Companies covered

The steps you must take before submitting a complaint

Step 1.

Raise your concerns with the organisation directly. We cannot provide conciliation until you have first allowed the organisation the opportunity to address your complaint in line with there complaints procedure.

Step 2.

If you remain dissatisfied once you have completed all stages of the organisations complaints procedure, the organisation will send you a letter or email that will tell you that you may refer the matter to CEDR for conciliation if you wish. This communication may be entitled ‘Final Response’.

Step 3.

Download and complete the application form available on this website and submit it to CEDR. We will then contact you to start the process.

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