Our Story

The Medical Mediation Foundation was founded in 2010 by Sarah Barclay, a former award-winning BBC health and social affairs correspondent, and Dr Simon Meller, a children’s cancer specialist. With their different backgrounds, Sarah and Simon had both had experience of seeing how conflicts between parents and health professionals could lead to communication breakdown, impact the care of a child and the wellbeing of clinical teams. They could also see that there was very little available to help support either parents or staff when conflicts arose and began to explore the use of mediation as a potential way forward.

Our aims

MMF is a not-for-profit organisation with two key aims: to provide mediation to help resolve disagreements between parents and health professionals and to create a training program to equip health professionals with the skills and confidence to recognise and manage conflict with families pro-actively and compassionately. 

How we started

MMF began by researching the causes and warning signs of conflicts between parents and professionals, funded by a grant from a UK Department of Health fund for supporting projects relating to children with life-limiting conditions.

Sarah and a colleague interviewed health professionals, parents, medical ethicists and lawyers to gain an understanding of what causes conflicts between professionals and families and the triggers that cause conflict to escalate. 

MMF today

From those original research findings MMF created a model for medical mediation and conflict management training for health and social care.

Since 2010, MMF has trained almost 10,000 professionals in the UK and internationally.

We have published peer reviewed research into the incidence of conflict in paediatrics and the outcomes from our training.

We have piloted a structured framework for managing conflict as a team and rolled it out as the Conflict Management Framework.

In late 2023 we opened a branch office in Melbourne to better serve our partners in Australia and New Zealand.