Conflicts in the health care sector can arise among the medical practitioners themselves, the medical practitioners and the patients, the practitioners and the management or the management and the subordinate workers. These conflicts vary from minor issues to major problems, and the sooner these conflicts are addressed, the better. Conflicts management is essential because these conflicts waste a lot of valuable time and strain working relations. Failing to resolve these conflicts have dire consequences on the outcome of the health services and prolonging these conflicts might lead to neglecting the patients’ health, poor working relations and depressing the health care subordinate staff (Leon et al., 2016). These conflicts also put the lives of many patients at stake because there is no coordination of the stakeholders of the health sector. For efficient functioning and running of the health care, it is to solve these conflicts on time before things get out of hand. Some ways of conflict resolutions may include litigation that is, following the legal procedures to settle the disputes in health care. Other forms of solving disputes in the health sector include using restorative justice, or mediation of the conflicting parties. Internal conflicts can be settled by organizing open forums between the management and the stuff, in case of a dispute between the two parties.
One of the methods of resolving conflicts in the health sector is through litigation. This is following the legal procedures, which includes hiring lawyers to represent the two parties in a court of law. Litigation involves hiring a health lawyer to defend the parties at conflict. The plaintiff, that is, the offended party, who may be the practitioners or the support staff file a lawsuit against the defendant, who, in this case, may be the management of the health institution or the medical practitioner. The case is presented before the court of law whereby after hearing both sides of the story, the court makes a ruling and justice is served. Some of the main conflicts in the health sector that are solved by litigation include grave medical errors such as errors in the Intensive Care Unit, risking the safety of the patient. Other issues that lead to conflict that are solved by initiating a lawsuit include late payment of the workers’ wages and salaries, poor working conditions of the health workers and settling of the medical bills by patients. However, litigation is usually costly as the and time consuming as a hearing takes days and weeks, besides before a decision is made, the court of law requires a lot of time to gather enough evidence and proof. However, litigation is suitable for solving complicated health cases which cannot be settled by simple dispute resolution methods like Litigation is ideal for handling a conflict where the other party, which may include the patient, the doctor or the staff workers feel that their interests have been violated. Furthermore, legal ways of solving conflicts in the health sector are safe and more satisfactory as it involves listening to both sides of the story before making a tentative conclusion.
Another means of conflict resolution in the health sector includes restorative justice. Restorative justice is a method of settling down differences whereby justice is rewarded by restoring broken relationships, and the offending party compensates for the loss. Restorative justice, in solving health care related conflicts, seeks to ensure that each party is satisfied and a peaceful consensus has been reached. Restorative justice satisfies the mental and emotional interests of the offended party by ensuring the contentment of the victim. Restorative justice heals the negative energy and pain that the offended party in the conflict, which in this case may be any stakeholder in the health sector, for example, the support staff, has experienced. The therapeutic method of settling differences in the medical sector is efficient as it ensures the offender apologizes to the victim for the damage caused, and the punishment for the offending party is meaningful in changing the outlook of the offender towards life. For instance, when a medical practitioner offends a patient, and a conflict arises, the patient would only be comfortable after opening up to the doctor, surgeon or nurse regarding how their actions affected her life after that reconcile after the offender sympathizing with the victim and compensating for the damage caused. Apart from that, this manner of addressing conflicts in the health sector is healthy, slows down anxiety and is very convenient and for permanent solutions in ending the strife between the stakeholders of the health sector. This restorative justice system in settling disputes linked with the health sector is efficient in solving conflicts such as severe medical errors and sexual violence.
Peaceful means such as arbitration and mediation is as well, suitable as a solution to conflicts in the health care sector. Reconciliation is a preferred way of resolving conflicts between the practitioner and the patients, the patients and the management, the doctors and the management and the management and the subordinate staff. This is because it requires the involvement of the third party which is the neutral party who listens to both sides of the story and helps in reaching an agreement that is free from bias and prejudice. Mediation is not costly because the only requirement is the final agreement of the two parties that are not in good terms. Intervention can be formal by meeting up with the two parties or informal as by telephone.
Mediation is efficient as it ensures the privacy of the parties in conflict and preserves the dignity and esteem of the patient, the doctor, or the management. Intervention does not waste time, because it involves direct interaction of the offended and the victim and does not require time to look for proof, witnesses and evidence. Mediation enhances forgiveness. However, mediation cannot solve very major problems in the health sector like for instance where the life of an individual is at stake. Both parties enjoy the freedom of expression, and explain their dissatisfaction; this heals the pain the victim has experienced undergone (Litchfield et al., 2018). Arbitration is as suitable as mediation in restoring relations in the health care sector. Arbitration ensures that there is proper communication between the management of the health institutions and the doctors, the support staff. As the two parties that conflict shares their experiences face to face, this enhances communication, and it is easier to persuade both the offender and the victim to come to terms, and the outcomes may be that these parties learn how to communicate more effectively. Moreover, through mediation, the mediator might get omitted information that is necessary for the peaceful solving of conflicts. Some of the problems leading to conflicts solved by mediation are poor communication and poor working conditions
Another method of resolving disputes through open public forums and discussions. Open forums are very useful if the conflict is between two parties, for instance, the management and the oppressed party, which may be the support staff workers regarding issues facing them in their place of work. The management organizes for a forum such as staff meeting which is chaired by the senior stakeholders in the health sector, and the members present are given a chance to air out their problems. Afterward, an agreement is reached to ensure involvement of all and to avert significant issues, such as workers strike which risk the lives of patients (Almost et al., 2016). Through open forums in a public meeting, a good number of participants are included in the conflict resolution process of challenges the health care sector.
In addition to that, public meetings are essential in preventing the reoccurrence of disputes in the healthcare system, and everyone is a participant in restoring a sense of understanding and peace. Sessions may involve a large group or a small group, for the conflict resulting in differences between the medical team to be addressed. These open dialogues do not follow any procedure or any set time limit, instead, gives each one an opportunity to state their concern regarding their interests while at work. Smaller meetings can also be held in that focus on creating a platform to express one’s ideas and is enhanced. The demerit of this method of settling disputes within the health sector is that it can lead to division hence making the conflict more serious straining friendship and work relations as it is difficult to give a solution that will satisfy everyone. Use of dialogue is very efficient in providing a permanent solution in addressing health care problems that include late payment of health workers wages, unemployed trained medical practitioner. In the case of our health workers strike, this is the most suitable way of solving such a conflict. Dialogue is thus very crucial in resolving disputes such as the crisis in the whole sector and rebuilding trust between the doctors and the patients or the doctors and the management.
Conflicts in the health care sector can also be solved by setting codes of standards that deal with finding a solution to strained relations at the workplace. These codes of behavior are meant to guide the doctors and the health workers on how to behave and relate to one another. This solution is preventive of a possibility of a crisis emerging as the health workers, and the staff workers have a set code of standards which dictates how one ought to carry themselves as the one mandated to care for the health. There are also institutions that are responsible for handling those who fail to abide by the law and punish those who commit crimes. These ethical values are essential in interacting in the health sector as doctors, as nurses and as workers (Day, 2015). For any conflict that one causes as a result of their actions, he or she faces the consequence, and they receive individual outcome. Although most medical practitioners have knowledge and skills to treat illnesses, they lack proper communication skills in settling disputes. Therefore, it is essential for the medical practitioners and every stakeholder in the medical fraternity to get trained in skills concerning problem-solving to know how to settle these challenges when the need arises.
In day to day experiences, conflicts do arise when interacting with others, and this may be in our places of work. Examples of disputes in the health sector include poor working conditions, sexual violence, and failure to pay the workers their salary. It is necessary to fix these loopholes before these challenges grow and get out of hand leading to a crisis the first and most accessible means of resolving these conflicts in the health sector. Mediation is very peaceful and efficient regarding cost saving and time management. Restorative justice is fundamental too in restoring broken trusts and relationships. In addition to these, dialogue and public meetings are equally useful tools in expressing one’s dissatisfactions and grievances and are very quick in giving solutions to challenges in the health sector. Setting, codes, ethics, and standards will guide all stakeholders in the medical sector in giving in their best. Conflict resolution in the health sector, therefore, will reduce the breakdown of the workforce and help in building the morale of the medical fraternity.
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