Mediation is a non-judgmental process. The VCMS does not ‘investigate’ complaints and will not be assessing who is right and wrong.
Many complaints involve an owner’s criticism of the veterinary care provided, but when explored in detail, are really about communication and trust.
Very few complaints referred to the VCMS resolve on the basis of a practice accepting there were failings in the care provided.
In the main, resolutions are found when misunderstandings are explained, explanations are accepted, practices’ acknowledge the impact of a situation, service or communication on an owner and the underlying reason for a complaint can be addressed.
The emotional factors in complaints can also be explored and addressed in mediation. An owner’s emotions can make resolving a complaint more difficult, and if an impartial resolution manager can help manage the interaction and move the complaint along, this can help in finding a resolution.
A third party to hear and acknowledge the emotional impact and drivers of a complaint can be incredibly powerful and reveal issues which have triggered or been a barrier to resolving a complaint.
Mediation is not about whether you will compromise, but looks at what is constructive, will resolve the issues raised and bring the complaint to a conclusion.
If as a practice, you feel that you have done everything you can for a client and their animal, and have responded to their complaint in full, the complaint is continuing and unresolved.
If mediation can bring matters to a conclusion and find out why the complaint is ongoing, then it is effective and worth a go.