Conscious inclusion

The aim of this resource is to help you to understand bias and to encourage you to reflect on some of the biases you may have.


It is important to remember that biases are natural and we cannot help having them. It is also important to raise awareness of bias and to reflect on how biases can have an impact in education, training and the workplace because of the decisions we are making on the basis of our judgements. Reducing the influence of bias can support more objective decision-making which itself will encourage inclusion and diversity.


Welcome from Professor Berne Ferry, our previous Head of School

Click to read the video transcript

Hello everyone.

I’m Berne Ferry, National Dean for Healthcare Science in Health Education England and Head of the National School of Healthcare Science (School). Our role at the School is to work on behalf of the Healthcare Science community in the NHS and specifically we help to implement the recruitment, the training and assessment of healthcare scientists across the four countries of the UK.

It is really important to us, and I am quite sure it is important to all of you as well, that we do this as thoroughly, in as transparent a way as possible and that everything we do to help to implement healthcare science training is extremely fair.

We want healthcare science careers to be open to everyone.

We want all of the hundreds of amazing healthcare scientists who work with us to interview, train and assess healthcare science trainees, to know that everyone who applies for our programmes and trains on them has had a fair crack of the whip.

Similarly, we want the next generation of healthcare scientists, those who are currently in training, to be aware of their responsibilities to continue to make healthcare science an open and inclusive community and we want them to feel that they are able to challenge things if they see processes and behaviours that are not being inclusive enough.

And that is why these guidance materials about understanding bias are important.

Biases, preconceptions, partialities, whatever you want to call them are very natural. We all have them and we can’t help having them.

However, the more we are aware of how bias operates, and indeed of our own biases, the more we can ensure that bias will not adversely affect the opportunities we are making available to our applicants and trainees.

Bias, prejudices, can be present at every level of an organisation and can impact the full life-cycle of a person’s experience within that organisation – from their recruitment process, to decisions about roles and promotions, all the way through to how they exit the organisation.

We are aware of some of our biases, but we can also let them influence our opinions and behaviours without always asking ourselves if we’re being fair or not. We may also have biases that we are not aware of. These biases can come from the part of our brain that makes automatic judgements without us realising it. Without digging deeper to prompt us to reflect on these things, we may not really know what all of our biases are.

So we hope that you are really stimulated by these materials. The more that we think about these things and have open, sometimes difficult conversations about them, the more we are supporting healthcare science trainees and the healthcare science community.

Thank you for listening and taking part.