New Survey Shines Light on Prejudice and Inequality in Colorectal Surgery

View Dr Franco Marinello's full interview with us here

  • More than half (56%) of female surgeons surveyed have suffered from gender abuse
  • 44% do not feel adequality protected or respected by their workplace with regard to their race, gender or sexual orientation

New research has found that more than half of female surgeons (56%) have suffered abuse because of their gender.

The data also reveals that nearly half (44%) of healthcare professionals surveyed feel their work institution or employer does not guarantee respect in gender equality, sexual orientation or race diversity, with almost two in three (64%) women not feeling adequately protected by their employer.

The survey found that more than one in 10 (12%) surgeons had experienced attacks, humiliating comments, or a poor work environment because of their race or religion. An analysis of the findings also reveals that surgeons experiencing racial or religious discrimination are particularly likely to observe a negative impact on their chances of receiving a promotion (39%) or to develop surgical techniques (27%).

Dr Franco Marinello, consultant colorectal surgeon at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, said:

“The results of this study are a wake-up call for all in the healthcare sector. Many surgeons told us that discrimination had influenced their opportunities to develop certain surgical techniques – a reality that presents frightening prospects for patient care. While some employers have made concerted efforts to eliminate such inequalities in recent years, discrimination in surgery continues to be an unresolved issue in many countries; we simply cannot accept unequal and unfair treatment any longer.

“Diversity in the health workforce is crucial to gain fresh perspectives and improve outcomes for patients, but many colorectal surgeons are still facing barriers every day. We hope this new research highlights the struggle healthcare professionals who are being discriminated against and urge healthcare leaders across the globe to take action.”

In response to the study, the European Society of Coloproctology (ESCP), the membership body for specialist surgeons has launched its ‘Operation Equal Access’ campaign. The campaign aims to expose and explore how a range of inequalities across the medical sector are impacting career progression, wellbeing and patient care.

Vittoria Bellato, ESCP member and Co-Chair of the Social Media Committee, adds:

“We are grateful to Dr Marinello for carrying out this study and for shedding light on such a fundamental issue in surgery today.

“When speaking to country representatives about measures in place to counter inequality in medicine, they encountered difficulty in summarizing general guidelines and measures. We found the measures in place are generally specific to a single hospital unit, and therefore not representative of a national framework.

“Our campaign aims to help fill a gap in the data, initiate a proactive conversation among surgeons on this issue, and prompt positive change as a result of this exchange of information and ideas.”

The Europe-wide study surveyed over 300 healthcare professionals, including residents and consultants in the coloproctology field.


– ENDS –


Notes to Editors

Media contacts

For more information or to request an interview with an ESCP spokesperson, please contact Grayling via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

About the ESCP

ESCP (European Society of Coloproctology) is dedicated to promoting and advancing the science, knowledge and practice of coloproctology in Europe. The professional organisation works to prevent treat colorectal disease through education, training and research.

It is a not-for-profit membership organisation, with an elected Council and Board of Trustees. 

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