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RCS publishes document on how to avoid unconscious bias

The Royal College of Surgeons has today published a guide for surgeons on how to avoid unconscious bias.

Everyone has unconscious biases - where our judgements and thought processes are influenced, often without us realising, by personal experiences, our background and societal expectations.

The guide – ‘Avoiding unconscious bias’ - aims to encourage surgeons to be aware of this, and sometimes adjust their mindset so that they can promote a positive working environment.

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mrs Scarlett McNally, who helped to write the guidance, said:

“We want to develop a diverse, inclusive, and positive culture in the surgical profession and the NHS as a whole.

“By addressing their own unconscious biases and working to correct them, surgeons can be leaders in the NHS and inspire those around them to behave in an exemplary manner.

“We also want organisations to reduce their unconscious bias. For example, small changes in the applications processes for committees can encourage more diverse applicants to the decision-making groups.”

Although this guidance has been written for surgeons, the principles can apply to anyone working in healthcare.

Notes to editors

1. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

2. For more information about the Avoiding Unconscious Bias document, please contact the RCS press office, telephone: 020 7869 6052/6047; or email:

For out of hours media enquiries, telephone: 07966 486832

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