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Avoiding Unconscious Bias

All members now have automatic access to our Unconscious Bias e-learning module. Simply log-in to your account on our e-learning platform and you will find it on your dashboard.

Everyone has biases that should be acknowledged, analysed and understood. Unconscious bias, also known as “hidden bias” is a pattern of thinking that affects our perceptions and influences our judgement and decision making. Our guidance – Avoiding unconscious bias – aims to encourage surgeons to be aware of this, and to adjust their mindset so that they can promote a positive working environment.

Avoiding unconscious bias provides advice and support for surgeons and surgical teams.

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.”

Who is this guide for?

If you are a surgeon, part of a surgical team, or a service provider, this guide will help you and your team with valuable advice, guidance and understanding on different aspects of unconscious bias, and techniques to avoid and challenge them.

What can I learn from this guide?

This guide covers:

  • Addressing biases and advice for surgeons and surgical teams.
  • Understanding bullying and how to tackle it.
  • Recognising different forms of behaviour and advice for mentors, line managers, supervisors and appraisers.

Avoiding unconscious bias - cover Download our guide to Avoiding Unconscious Bias (PDF 396Kb)

New free e-Learning

Take advantage of our e-learning that supports our guidance on this important topic. This will help surgeons familiarise themselves with unconscious bias both internally and externally. The e-learning takes up to 30 minutes to complete and is an ideal tool to share with your surgical teams. 



Listen in on our anti-bullying webinar

The RCS has a zero tolerance approach to bullying. Listen to our webinar recording to understand what a supportive environment looks like and how to respond to bullying or undermining behaviour in the workplace. 

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