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RCS England Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan

In September 2021 we published our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) 16 point Action Plan in response to the Kennedy Review – an independent review of diversity in professional leadership – which was conducted over the course of 2020 / early 2021.

In response to feedback, we have since developed an additional initiative focusing on the wellbeing and experience of LGBTQ+ surgeons and College staff.

We are committed to publishing our progress on the (now 17 point) Action Plan every six months. Our March 2022 update can be found below, or you can download it as a PDF. 

Kennedy 17-point Action Plan update

Recommendation 1: Commit to the Vision and put diversity at the heart of the College strategy

UpdateDiversity, equity and inclusion is one of the five strategic priorities in our new strategy published in July 2021. Specific project updates are provided below. Examples of how a better understanding of DEI issues are influencing our priorities include:

 - Our Winter Appeal
 - Creating a focus on DEI in the Faculty of Dental Surgery’s new strategy due to be published April 2022

Next steps: Keep an eye on the Bulletin, our website, podcasts and social channels for further developments.

Recommendation 2: Commit to the Reform Target

Recommendation 3: Reform elections for Presidency

Recommendation 4: Reform election for Vice Presidential roles

Recommendation 5: Reform Council

Recommendation 6: Reform election process, appointments, Committees and conduct

UpdateIn October 2021 Council discussed governance proposals. We have completed a survey of governance arrangements at other colleges. We conducted a membership survey about our governance in February and March 2022, and the results were reviewed by Council and trustees in May 2022.

In May 2022 Council discussed proposals to change the mechanism of electing the President and Vice Presidents, but decided not to proceed until proposals on the reform of Council are firstly agreed, so that those Council members who stand for President or Vice President are a reflection of our changing and diverse society. Any further changes to governance following this will be communicated to the membership and raised at the College’s AGM in November 2022.

Next steps: We will publish a paper in 2022 on the outcomes from the membership survey and review of governance arrangements at other colleges. Look out for more information in our September 2022 update.

Recommendation 7: Develop a clear Specialty and Associate Specialist (SAS) strategy

Update: We have established a Core Group to lead on this work chaired by our Council SAS lead, Vinita Shekar. We have also created accountability and stakeholder reference groups.

The planned audit of College language, materials, rules and regulations is being finalised. 

Next steps: Clear language and messaging will be developed highlighting the important role SAS surgeons play. More opportunities are being created for SAS surgeons to participate in the College’s work.

Recommendation 8: Deliver a flagship project – Parents in Surgery

Update: We have conducted an extensive consultation with parents in surgical careers, parents who have left surgical careers, those that are not parents - and don’t see that in their future, stakeholders and experts within this field.

Read more about Parents in Surgery.

Next steps: We will publish the findings from our consultation and next steps in early Autumn 2022. The original publication date of June 2022 has been pushed back, to ensure recommendations for further change in policy and practice are achievable and sustainable. 

Our ambitious plans for next steps after publishing our report. These include making strategic investments in resource development (for example to provide support to surgeons at the pre-parent / planning stage), network development and advocacy on rotas, LTFT and workforce planning, as well as further in-depth research to inform longer term initiatives.

Recommendation 9: Deliver a study on differential attainment in surgical exams

Update: We will publish a summary into our initial findings on differential attainment and a prioritised action plan to move forwards in early Autumn 2022, rather than our original publication date - June 2022. A survey has recently gone out to RCS England's MRCS candidates to learn more about their experiences of taking the Part A and Part B. From these insights, we will be able to start designing the interventions that should be most effective in addressing the issue candidates face during their surgical training, and specifically when preparing for and sitting examinations with us. 

Read more about differential attainment.

Next steps: Report to be published in early Autumn 2022.

Recommendation 10: Launch two annual research fellowships into surgery and DEI

Update: We have developed new opportunities for surgical trainees to apply for research fellowships in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Next steps: In March 2022 we will launch applications for two surgical research fellowships in diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Recommendation 11: Support diverse grassroots medical organisations with seed funding

UpdateOur vision is to ensure that all of the roles supporting the College’s work, from Council members to examiners, Regional Directors, faculty and volunteers, are diverse and reflective of the breadth of talent within surgery. We will do this by partnering with, and providing funding for, grassroots organisations and collective efforts that address diversity, equity and inclusion issues in surgery. By actively seeking and listening to the issues and challenges faced by different groups, we hope to cater better for them in the future.

Read more about Grassroots in Surgery.

Next stepsWe have conducted an initial period of research and consultation to help inform how we deliver on this, and in April 2022 we will be opening applications for our Grassroots in Surgery scheme which will provide funding of up to £10,000 for UK-based organisations and groups.

Recommendation 12: Build on College strengths – Emerging Leaders and Women in Surgery (WinS)

Update: We have reviewed and developed the Emerging Leaders programme. We have recruited a new cohort of Emerging Leaders to the reinvigorated programme.

Read more about Emerging Leaders.

Next steps: We will be expanding the support we provide to both experienced and emerging leaders.

Keep an eye out for an experienced leaders networking event in May 2022 and online workshops to support applications for the 2023 Emerging Leaders programme in late 2022. In 2023 we will also be piloting regional programmes for Emerging Leaders.

Recommendation 13: Mentorship

Update: We are currently in the explore phase and are reviewing both the College’s existing mentorship offers, and also those being run by other groups of surgeons. We will also consider best practice from outside surgery. A steering group has been established with dates for three meetings to take place between now and April 2022.

Next steps: A pilot programme will be launched in December 2022.

Recommendation 14: Data collection, monitoring and career tracking

Update: A new business intelligence manager has been appointed and we will be recruiting for a data modeller to analyse the initial data. We have also been in discussion with the GMC and made good progress with obtaining data on some of the different aspects of the DEI projects.

Next steps: In 2022 we will be asking for members to update their records through surveys - particularly on race, ethnic origin and socioeconomic background. We understand that this is private and sensitive data, but without it, it is more difficult to make progress and create accountability.

Recommendation 15: Training

Update: All staff and Council members received anti-discrimination training at the end of 2021, and this will be repeated on a yearly basis. It will also be incorporated in our induction process for new staff. 

Next steps: We aim to provide all members and the wider public with an excellent and inclusive service. Should we ever fall short, please email us.

Recommendation 16: New building

Update: Watch our launch video and please do provide us with feedback if you have visited the building. We would love to know what you think.

Next steps: We are working in partnership with AccessAble to make the building as accessible as possible. We will be making an app available with detailed access guides, providing visitors with information and insight to the facilities ahead of their visit.

Keep an eye out for our fly-through video which will be launched in 2022. We want to create an inclusive environment, and make sure that those who can’t visit the building in person have an opportunity to visit it virtually.

Recommendation 17: LGBTQ+ initiative

Update: The LGBTQ+ strategy project has started its work to understand what role the College can take in supporting LGBTQ+ surgeons and college staff. The project lead will be exploring this question at the Out at the College conference, the inaugural RCS England LGBTQ+ conference which is being held on 25 March 2022. 

Next steps: We will publish a paper in Summer 2022, outlining our recommendations for what the strategy should contain. 


We will be reporting on our progress every six months, holding true to the long-term outcomes we are working towards, reporting on the latest developments and publishing our work accordingly. As part of this, we will monitor progress to demonstrate improvements in attitudes of fellows and members.

DEI Action Plan update timeline

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion core group

Corriene Bailey Bearfield
Corriene Bailey-Bearfield, Diversity and Inclusion Programme Manager
‘The publication of this new action plan marks a significant moment in The Royal College of Surgeons of England’s approach to diversity, equity and inclusion. I am proud to be leading the implementation of this work in collaboration with the surgical community and colleagues across the College. Together, we will drive the change that is needed to make the surgical profession, as well as our organisation, reflective of the world today.’
Corriene Bailey-Bearfield, Diversity and Inclusion Programme Manager

About Corriene

Corriene has a wealth of experience of leading organisational change within the EDI space, mentoring senior leaders and of developing successful culture change programmes. Most notably “Common Ground” at Diabetes UK. Corriene is passionate about creating space for open and honest dialogue and ensuring diverse voices are heard and supported.  Corriene joined the College in June 2021 and is responsible for leading and supporting the DEI work across the College.    

Lucy Davies
Lucy Davies, Executive Director of Membership, Marketing and Communications
‘I am extremely honoured and proud to be a part of the core team that are looking to address the Kennedy recommendations. I feel strongly about making the College and surgery a diverse, welcoming and inclusive space, where we can all come together to collaborate and work towards providing excellent surgical care for everyone.  We will engage with our fellows, members, stakeholders and interested parties so that we can truly understand how we can effect change in a positive and meaningful way. Together, we can change the face of surgery.’
Lucy Davies, Executive Director of Membership, Marketing and Communications

About Lucy

Lucy has over sixteen years’ experience in roles within professional membership organisations. Lucy joined the College in 2015 and is responsible for the Membership, Marketing and Communication teams. Lucy has supported the development of the diversity and inclusion programme at the College and has led key initiatives including the Emerging Leaders Programme, Women in Surgery and the SAS forum. 

Tim Mitchell
Tim Mitchell, Vice President
‘This Action Plan is a clear demonstration of our desire to embrace the recommendations of the Kennedy Report. It signals the start of a process which, with the support of our members, will make the College a more open, inclusive and outward looking organisation. I am very grateful to all the College staff and my fellow Council members for their invaluable contributions, and especially to Laura Harrison and the Core Team for overseeing its development.’
Tim Mitchell, Vice President

About Tim

Tim Mitchell studied medicine at Brasenose College, Oxford before training in Otolaryngology in Oxford, London, Cambridge and Sydney. He was awarded the inaugural Graham Fraser Memorial Fellowship to work with Professor William Gibson in the field of cochlear implantation. He was appointed as Consultant Otolaryngologist in Southampton in 2000 and has a subspecialty interest in cochlear and other auditory implants with the University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service. He has been a RCS Regional Specialty Professional Advisor, member of Council of ENT UK, Vice Chair of the Clinical Reference Group for Specialised Ear Services and a member of the Specialist Advisory Committee for Otolaryngology. He has been a MRCS examiner since 2004 and was Chair of the Court of Examiners from 2014 to 2017. He was elected to Council in 2017. He is a trustee of ENT UK and an honorary member of the Medical Women’s Federation. He was appointed Vice President in 2020.

Andrew Reed
Andrew Reed, Chief Executive
‘The Royal College of Surgeons of England supports over 29,000 surgeons and surgical team members across the world. We can only do this well by embracing the sheer range of all those professionals and what they have to offer– their diversity of experience, diversity of background, diversity of culture and diversity of thought. By taking forward the recommendations of the Kennedy review we will enrich what we do and how we do it, and continue to promote excellent surgical care for all.’
Andrew Reed, Chief Executive

About Andrew

Andrew was appointed Chief Executive of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2015 after nearly 35 years’ experience in NHS management. Born and brought up in Sunderland, he was only the fourth member of his family to attend university, and the first at Oxbridge. He joined the NHS as a graduate management trainee and worked in all sectors of the NHS. He was a Chief Executive for twelve years, including at Bedford Hospital (2001–5) and Ipswich Hospital (2005-12), before holding senior posts for NHS England in East Anglia and the West Midlands. He lives in Suffolk with his wife and three daughters.

Nuha Yassin
Nuha Yassin, Council member
‘I would like to congratulate the Royal College of Surgeons of England and Professor Neil Mortensen for looking in the mirror. I would also like to extend my thanks to Baroness Helena Kennedy and the team for conducting the independent review into Diversity, Equality and Inclusivity within the College. I am honoured to be part of the core team who are working on the implementation of the recommendations set out by the Kennedy report. It is clear that the College has looked deeply into EDI matters, which is vital if we want to get it right the first time, as substance and content are key in achieving our aims, rather than speed of action.

It is important to highlight that this work is only the beginning - we plan to go beyond the recommendations and focus on other groups such as LGBTQ+ and ethnic minority groups. It’s only when we are inclusive and welcoming to all diverse groups that we can change the face of surgery.’
Nuha Yassin, Council member

About Nuha

Nuha Yassin is a Consultant Colorectal Surgeon and has been on the staff of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust since September 2018. After qualifying from the University of Manchester in 2003, she trained in the North West, Yorkshire and West Midlands regions. Her postgraduate research experience was based at St Mark's Hospital in London where she obtained her PhD from Imperial College, London. Nuha is an elected Council Member of The Royal College of Surgeons of England (2021). She is passionate about all aspects of her work and personal life and truly believes that everyone has something amazing to contribute if given the chance. 

Chair of WinS Tamzin Cuming
Tamzin Cuming, Chair of Women in Surgery 
I was inspired to rejoin the Women in Surgery Forum after my stint as a Registrar many years previously because of the Kennedy Report into diversity at the College. Implementing the recommendations of this report fully is my first aim, and I am pleased at the immense work that has already begun to do this. The Action Plan and Core Group exist to maintain that initial momentum for change and ensure that the College not only meets the recommendations, but even exceeds them, for example with the LGBTQI+ project. I am happy to be part of this process and to be able to bring the expertise of my colleagues in the Women in Surgery Forum to assist with the multiple projects spinning out of the diversity report.’
Tamzin Cuming, Chair of Women in Surgery 

About Tamzin

Tamzin is a colorectal surgeon at Homerton Hospital in London. She has a specialist interest in anal intraepithelial neoplasia (AIN) and runs a unit there with a national reach. She has three children and completed some of her training part time. In addition to the Women in Surgery Forum Chair, she is the current Treasurer of the International Anal Neoplasia Society. 
Charlotte Eckhardt, Vice Dean at The Faculty of Dental Surgery 
‘RCS England is completely committed to addressing the Kennedy recommendations. I am extremely proud to have been invited to join the core group, representing the Faculty of Dental Surgery, and to be involved in overseeing the implementation of sustainable changes ensuring the College is forward looking, inclusive and welcoming. This demonstrates how the College is dynamic, embraces change and supports their fellows and members.’
Charlotte Eckhardt, Vice Dean at The Faculty of Dental Surgery 

About Charlotte

Charlotte is the Vice Dean at the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Charlotte is also an Orthodontic Consultant at Swansea Bay University Health Board. Charlotte has more recently become Chair of the Global Oral Health Committee and sits on the College Global Affairs Committee.

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