Managing conflict between doctors and patients

Future dates for this course will be announced.

6 CPD credits*

As you are aware the UK government has indicated that everyone in the UK should avoid non-essential travel and contact and we are following this advice. After careful consideration we have decided to cancel all face to face courses until the end of 2020. When the situation changes we will update our website.

Breakdowns in communication and trust and ever increasing expectations of treatment and care can result in conflict. The impact on all those involved in terms of time and emotion can be enormous.

This course is designed to help healthcare professionals understand how and why conflicts can arise between themselves and patients and their families, as well as what they can do to try and resolve them.

Course content

  • How to recognise the warning signs of conflict.
  • Understanding the pathway of escalation.
  • The impact of conflict on participants' medical practice.
  • Improving your personal approach to managing conflict and building resilience.
  • Strategies and mediation skills for engaging with patients in order to avoid conflict.
  • The mediation process and what it can offer.

This course complements the Managing conflict with colleagues course. They are on consecutive days to make it easier for you to attend both courses if you would like to.

Who should attend?

  • Consultants/specialists
  • GPs
  • Hospital doctors
  • Training grade doctors (GPST1-4 and ST1-8)
  • Foundation doctors (F2 only)
  • Practice managers

*This course has been approved by the Federation of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the UK for 6 category 1 (external) CPD credits.


Sarah Barclay

Sarah Barclay BA (Hons) MA, accredited mediator

Director, The Medical Mediation Foundation

Sarah is a mediator specialising in resolving communication breakdown between families, patients and health professionals. She is the founder of The Medical Mediation Foundation, which provides mediation and training in recognising and managing conflict to NHS hospitals. 

Since 2013 she has been co-director of The Evelina Resolution Project, a ground-breaking project funded by the Guy's and St Thomas' charity, providing mediation and conflict management training to clinical and non-clinical staff at the Evelina London Children's Hospital. In 2014 Sarah was voted an "NHS Innovator" by The Health Service Journal for her work on the Evelina project. 

She is a lay member of the Great Ormond Street Hospital Clinical Ethics Committee, has a Masters in Medical Law and Ethics from King's College London, and is a former award winning BBC social affairs presenter. 

Oscar Matthew

Oscar Mathew MA(Hons), barrister (Middle Temple), accredited mediator

Director, mediator & trainer, The Medical Mediation Foundation

Oscar is a qualified barrister, mediator and door tenant of Lamb Chambers in Middle Temple. He has a background in regulatory and public law, with a particular interest in medical law and ethics. 

Prior to his work with The Medical Mediation Foundation, Oscar was a senior legal adviser to the GMC, overseeing judicial reviews and statutory appellate work in the High Court, and had conduct of the Supreme Court case of Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board [2015] UKSC 11, one of the most significant medical law cases in the last 25 years. 

His work for The Medical Mediation Foundation includes teaching, mediating and team facilitation for healthcare teams experiencing conflict.

Dr Gaynor Whiter

Dr Gaynor Whiter

MDU medico-legal adviser

Gaynor graduated from Cambridge University in 1989 and worked as an obstetric and neonatal SHO, before commencing training in anaesthetics. In 1997, she qualified also as a solicitor and with the dual qualification worked in legal practice defending pharmaceutical product liability actions, and assisting doctors and other healthcare professionals with regulatory and clinical negligence cases. In 2011, Gaynor joined the MDU and has continued to assist doctors as a medicolegal adviser since then.

Sarah Jarvis

Dr Sarah Jarvis BSc MB BS MRCGP

MDU medico-legal adviser

Sarah trained in London and undertook an intercalated BSc which involved medical ethics. After graduating she spent several years in A&E and general medicine before becoming a GP. She was a GP principal and trainer and was involved in medical student teaching. She also sat on the GMC and MPTS Fitness to Practise Panels, eventually chairing them.

Dr Oliver Lord

Dr Oliver Lord

Medico-legal adviser

Before joining the MDU in 2013 Oliver was a consultant psychiatrist working for the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland crisis resolution and home treatment team. At the MDU Oliver is an adviser in a specialist advisory team with an interest in disciplinary matters and provides regular talks to members on medico-legal issues.


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  • Consultant, Devon
  • 29 January 2020 3:28PM

Well planned content and very well delivered.

  • GP, Cowbridge
  • 29 January 2020 3:26PM

excellent, relaxed delivery, interactive and practical, thank you!

  • Consultant, Coventry
  • 29 July 2019 4:02PM

Good coverage of seeing other perspectives & steps of conflict generation and de-escalation

  • Training grade doctor, Banstead
  • 22 May 2019 9:25AM

Most if not all doctors would benefit from this course. Active listening and Basic tools for mediation explored. New perspective taking into account a 360 degree point of view.

  • GP, Oxted
  • 22 May 2019 9:22AM

Good sensible insight in to conflict and mediation which I can use in everyday practice

  • Consultant, Grantham
  • 8 January 2019 9:27AM

Very thought provoking and will definitely change my clinical practice

  • DR Siddique
  • 2 December 2018 4:00PM

Dear Sir
I am keen to attend this course which i understand is due on Friday 7 Dec. Kindly do your best to accommodate me.

  • Paediatric registrar, London
  • 23 April 2018 2:03PM

Interactive and provided interesting insight into conflict resolution and mediation skills.

  • GP, Nottingham
  • 23 April 2018 1:58PM

A very useful reminder of some key points to consider in conflict situations and an introduction to mediation.