Equality, Diversity and Inclusion


As one of the world’s oldest surgical bodies, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) strives to be an engaged and welcoming organisation. We fundamentally benefit from having an active and diverse membership and are extremely fortunate to be able to draw upon a broad range of experiences, opinions and expertise.

However, we appreciate that more must be done to ensure our 30,000 members and fellows feel that their professional opinion is always valued and acted upon regardless of their background, career stage or physical location. We must do more to support, encourage and celebrate diversity so that we have a deeper understanding of our members and fellows and the patients they serve. Indeed, such active participation is essential for the College to be able to fully play our part in advancing surgical care throughout the world.

"Equality and diversity is not just a commitment— it is about living and breathing inclusion of all our people. Supporting the qualities of one another that make us different and those that bring something new to the table. We must listen, learn and act to encourage everyone to feel comfortable and confident as the person they truly are. We will only succeed in delivering the best in Patient Safety if our people reflect the world's complete diversity of individuals, beliefs and approaches to their life in and out of the workplace. Making a difference for all is Making it Inclusive for all.
- Professor S Michael Griffin, Past President of The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.


The College is opposed to all forms of prejudice and believes everyone should be treated fairly regardless of their age, race and ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, gender identity, social class, disability, marital status.

As a College, we will continually evaluate how we can improve our own functions and processes to achieve greater equality and diversity within our College and ensure positive change within the surgical and dental professions.

We will do this by:

  • Ensuring that RCSEd’s range of activities and code of conduct are fair and free from bias and that no one is discriminated against treatment, either directly or indirectly, based on their protected characteristics. We will also practice positive action to support the advancement of people from underrepresented groups.
  • Ensuring we have a broad range of perspectives from a multitude of backgrounds in order to improve our understanding and decision making in all aspects of College activity.
  • Setting and working to uphold standards for inclusion within the functions and duties of the College to ensure everyone feels they they belong, are fully engaged and can thrive within College.


The College’s Equality and Diversity strategy sets out the process by which we will put our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion into action. Everyone will, at some point in their life, engage with surgery and dentistry as professional fields and we want to move beyond merely meeting our legal requirements on equality to actively engage and encourage a diverse spectrum of individuals to become surgeons and dentists to mirror the diversity of our patients. We believe that this improves surgery and dentistry as fields and improves our ability to treat our patients.

Understand the issues We know that we do not currently have the full picture of how equality and diversity matters impact on the lived experiences of our members and fellows. We commit to learning more about our membership profile through equalities monitoring and a tailored survey to seek a better understanding of these issues. By better understanding the lives of all our people we can identify how we can improve. A benchmarking exercise will be implemented across the College, to establish a series of baselines and key performance indicators from which on-going progress and performance can be assessed.
Recognise the need for change We know that we have existing disparities and under-representation within both the College and the surgical and dental professions. We have seen evidence of a disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on ethnic minority doctors and communities, and we know that as a profession, there is an issue in surgery when it comes to attracting female and Black-British doctors in particular. We believe that RCSEd has a moral duty to understand and address any inequalities within the wider medical field to encourage positive change within surgery and dentistry.
Make a College commitment The College commits to actively promoting equality and diversity in all that we do and ensuring that we value all our people to become a fully inclusive organisation where diversity is respected and encouraged. We are fully committed to doing better, and we engage with all our members and fellows to learn from them about how we can do that, and to implement our findings in a timely and transparent manner.

President Statement 

From Past Professor Michael Griffin OBE, President, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is acutely aware that surgery as a whole needs to be more representative of the patients it serves. As such we have begun a process of deep reflection and the exploration of what we can do to promote equality, diversity and inclusivity within both the College and the profession more widely. Read the full statement here.


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