Our partnership with the Medical Mediation Foundation

CHA is delighted to partner with MMF to support paediatric healthcare providers in Australia and New Zealand to access tools to help them to understand and manage conflict and to embed conflict management systems in their local setting. 

Conflict is often inevitable, the outcome isn’t…

If you’ve caught Best Interests on the ABC recently then you may have reflected that some of the themes and scenarios depicted are uncannily familiar to the kind of conflict that you witness and have to deal with – every day of your working life. If you haven’t seen it, Best Interests is a fictional drama made by the BBC, about a family facing the realisation that the critical decisions about the course of their child’s life-limiting illness are slipping out of their hands; a judge ultimately decides 13-year-old Marnie’s fate. 

While in real life few cases end up in court, that doesn’t mean conflict isn’t happening or isn’t serious. Disagreements between caregivers and health providers in paediatric settings can still be incredibly traumatic, with lasting impact for all involved – and the child at the centre of the conflict no longer the focus. Just as in the drama, opportunities to communicate effectively and de-escalate and prevent conflict are invariably missed. 

It’s that gap in effective communication between families and healthcare providers that the Medical Mediation Foundation’s conflict management training seeks to address. MMF was set up in England in 2010, with an initial grant from the Department of Health. In 2013, a three-year pilot at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London provided the evidence base for MMF’s work to expand and grow into the comprehensive Conflict Management Program that we deliver today. 

Training Opportunities in Australia

Over the past 10 years MMF have trained more than 10,000 multi-disciplinary health professionals. The Royal Children’s Hospital and Sydney Children’s Hospital Network are now in our network and staff are attending our workshops, with more hospitals signing up for 2024.  

Our comprehensive Conflict Management Program equips health and social care professionals with the confidence and skills to engage with families/caregivers and patients.

What’s next? Well, we are excited that we now have a local Australian faculty and are able to provide regular, ongoing training to the southern hemisphere. My colleagues and I are heading over in March to join our Australian team to deliver six weeks training in Australia and New Zealand. 

If you are already signed up to one of those sessions, we look forward to meeting you. Or if you are interested in perhaps attending a future workshop, we will be offering face-to-face training throughout 2024. (contact details at the foot of this newsletter)


Here’s what some participants from one of our Australian workshops late last year had to say about the training:

“Practical skills to resolve conflict before it escalated – to really hear the reasons and fears behind conflict, and empowering me with the skills to truly listen to my patients and families and have the chance to resolve their fears, listen and hear them.”

Allied Health Professional

“Practical, humane, insightful training. I have learned so much. Thank you”

Consultant / Senior Doctor

“So hard to pick a moment! Such a fab day. For me it was the real life quotes, videos and examples”

Registered Nurse

“Such a helpful course giving me lots of information to provide to colleagues to manage conflict. Active listening which I pride myself on. Skills to manage when a family is labelled difficult, a conversation I will easily have with staff”

Nurse, Management

Where is the evidence that our approach works?

The Resources portal on our website has links to published peer-reviewed research that demonstrates the efficacy of our conflict management program, case studies of current projects and a short film about the Evelina Project.

In Our Community

To get the fullest sense of how our Framework is applied in real time in paediatric settings, a paper written by our colleagues from Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland is effectively a case study charting their partnership with us. It was published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health last year and is free to access.

"Since the initial ‘index’ case in 2017, there have been no further situations in Starship Hospital that have not been able to be successfully resolved using the skills learned from the UK MMF Conflict Management Programme."

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, Vol 59, Issue 3, pp424-426

And finally, following our Brisbane launch, our e-Learning Green Zone Course is open 24/7 (with a discount for CHA members). The UK version of the course has been available to more than one million staff working in the National Health Service since May 2023; feedback has been so positive that the NHS has commissioned additional content.

While the Course is not a replacement for our comprehensive and intensive face to face workshops, it’s a great option where that isn’t practical – perhaps for staff in more remote areas, for healthcare providers in private practice, or where organisations want more of their staff to benefit from the essential conflict management skills than is practical or affordable to send to our in-person workshops.

About Sarah Barclay, MMF Founder and Director
Sarah founded The Medical Mediation Foundation in 2010. She has a Masters degree in Medical Law and Ethics from King’s College London and is a former award-winning BBC social affairs correspondent and presenter. Sarah was the co-director of the pioneering conflict management project at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital which was awarded Program of the Year in the 2018 National Mediation Awards; Sarah was subsequently voted an ‘NHS Innovator’ by the Health Service Journal.

MMF Australia contacts
phone: 1300 083 222
email: [email protected]

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