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It is disappointing to us to learn that NHSR has not expanded its main mediation panel following a tender  process. It has only added another provider in relation to costs disputes. The existing providers remain in place.  We would have hoped that the panel would have been opened up to more providers to increase competition but this is not the case. In our view, parties should be free to instruct whatever mediator they choose, whether or not they are on the panel, as long as they have experience and qualifications as well as the ability to maintain data protection and confidentiality. The decision means that mediators wishing to practise in this area have to join the panels of the existing suppliers and agree to their terms to do the work.