Interpersonal mediation service for GP partners in dispute

We’re here to support GP partnerships through when disagreements arise between partners. We offer free mediation as part of your BMA membership.

Location: UK
Audience: GPs
Updated: Friday 12 November 2021
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The pressures and demands of working as a GP are often intense and conflicts between work colleagues can arise.

Experiencing these difficulties can be enormously stressful and can affect the smooth running of your practice.


How we can help

Early intervention can be key to avoid strain on working relationships, and to give each party the best chance to resolve issues positively.

Mediation can be the most efficient method to have a facilitated, productive dialogue and move forward. Our accredited mediators understand the GP environment and have extensive experience specifically with doctors.

We will support all those involved through a structured process to gain shared insight into any difficulties and help you work towards solutions.

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Get in touch


Should an interpersonal dispute arise between you and your GP partners, our dedicated team will support you at each stage.

Contact us

Stages we guide you through

We will steer the mediation process and help you to find the best way to communicate with one another.

  1. Initial meetings

    We will hold separate meetings with the individuals involved to explain the process and seek agreement to move forward.
  2. Mediation group meeting

    The joint meeting is ideally organised in a neutral location, not in the practice, agreed with the parties.

    When necessary, including during the pandemic, it may be agreed to meet virtually.

    The mediator arranges the programme for the day, including the times for parties to arrive.

    Where possible, each person is asked to go to a different room to where the joint meeting is to take place. This allows the mediator to speak to each person independently on the day and manage the process sensitively.

    The start of the joint meeting is usually led by the mediator, reminding everyone of the ground rules discussed at the stage 1 meetings.

    It is a matter for the mediator how they then manage the meeting, enabling parties to raise the issues of importance to them, recognise those concerns and work towards agreeing a way forward.

  3. Collaborate in writing agreements

    Any agreements reached by the parties may be recorded by the mediator at the end of the mediation.  They will ideally be shared with the parties on the day. 

  4. Closure and follow-up

You will own the discussions and any resulting solutions will be yours.


About the service

Not all partners need to agree to take part

If some partners are not involved in the dispute, they will not need to give their consent to proceed to mediation.

However, all the partners who are involved in the issue will need to agree to take part in the process and abide by the standards set. This may be an interpersonal dispute between just some partners within a larger partnership.

Not all partners need to be BMA members

As this is a collective issue, not all partners are required to be BMA members, although at least one partner must be. If none of the parties are BMA members, please contact us to review the request.

The first steps

The first step is to contact us. Your case may be assigned to a specialist adviser who will discuss with you the options available.

Where appropriate, and with your permission, the adviser may refer your case to the mediation service.

The details of the case are considered to decide if the case is suitable for commercial or interpersonal mediation.

If your case is identified as being likely to be suitable for interpersonal mediation, the assigned mediator will contact you directly.

If your case is identified as likely to be suitable for commercial mediation, your original adviser will refer you to BMA Law (England and Wales, or our specified legal firms in Scotland and Northern Ireland).

The role of the mediator

The mediator:

  • is responsible for the process
  • will determine if mediation is suitable in the circumstances and guide you and other partners to understand how to tailor your stories to focus on problem solving
  • communicates with each of the parties individually and manages the joint meeting
  • is responsible for the professional delivery of the mediation service, dealing with objections, managing the process safely and managing any imbalance of power
  • is neutral and will not make judgements about the people or issues under discussion, or the outcome
  • is not liable for the outcome of the meeting or any agreements reached - these are the responsibility of the parties
  • may record the agreement for the parties at the end of the process - keeping details confidential.
The process is confidential

Any records of discussions are kept to a minimum and are confidential. Any disclosure to the other party (or parties) only takes place by agreement.

We help you with communication

It is often the case when conflict arises that the parties find it increasingly difficult to communicate well together.

By agreeing to participate in mediation, the parties all agree to listen to one another and work constructively to explore ways forward supported by the mediator.

The process itself and the help of the mediator can lead to improvements, including feeling listened to and understood.

The mediator is responsible for ensuring that the process is fair and safe. If you have such concerns, you should discuss this with the mediator on a one to one basis. The mediator will have come across this situation before so you should not worry about raising your concerns.

Interpersonal or commercial mediation?

A case is probably suitable for interpersonal mediation by the BMA if:

  • any of the parties is a BMA member
  • there is an interpersonal dispute between GP partners
  • you do not require a legally binding agreement to resolve your dispute
  • you wish to maintain your professional relationship in future
  • it is not solely a monetary dispute
  • a resolution does not require a qualified lawyer.

The interpersonal mediation service is provided free as a benefit of BMA membership for GP partners. Associated costs will need to be met by the partnership (eg for locum cover and room hire).

A case is probably suitable for commercial mediation by BMA Law if:

  • none of the parties is a BMA member (and do not wish to join)
  • you require a legally binding agreement to resolve your dispute
  • you wish to end your professional relationship with one or more of your number, or the relationship has already ended
  • it is solely or substantially a monetary dispute
  • the resolution is likely to require a qualified lawyer
  • interpersonal mediation has been unsuccessful.

Commercial mediation is provided for a fee by BMA Law and the costs will be explained to you if it is decided to move towards this service.