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Career advice

Let’s sit down and talk about it

Conflict between colleagues or managers is all too common when working in pressured environments such as the NHS. Disputes can be stressful - leading some to take sick leave - and can escalate quickly into formal complaints of bullying and harassment.

Staff and managers are encouraged to talk openly and honestly, and find their own solutions

Picture credit: Charles Milligan

Mediation is an informal process intended to reach an agreed way forward between two parties who are in conflict at work. The approach has been adopted by East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) because ‘we wanted to provide something more formal to support individuals in resolving conflict at work without having to resort to potentially more stressful processes’, according to the trust’s head of human resources David Smithson.

The trust employs around 2,000 nursing and midwifery whole-time-equivalent registered staff.

A voluntary mediation training scheme run by mediation provider Consensio was established in April and 12 people, including a nurse, were chosen to take part. Eight more mediators are now involved, including two nurses who had been trained in mediation


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