Two friends, one of whom has a prosthetic leg, walk along a pier illustrating how unconscious bias is affecting major trauma recovery


The Major Trauma Group Chair Reflects on Unconscious Bias in Major Trauma Recovery

Trevor Sterling, Chair of the Major Trauma Group, discusses Unconscious Bias in Major Trauma Recovery. Part of this discussion originally appeared in the Clinical Services Journal.

Trevor Sterling, Chair of the Major Trauma Group, has published a piece with the Clinical Services Journal this week looking into health outcome inequalities and the unconscious bias within major trauma recovery.

Within this article, Trevor comments that health outcome inequalities are a widely recognised aspect of public health within, as well as between, countries, and if left unaddressed, they can have serious social and economic costs. For example, there is a significant life expectancy gap between people in the UK because of a variety of intersecting factors such as socioeconomic status, ethnicity and environment, and while many factors feed into this, the NHS is a universal health service, and it is worrying that some groups may not receive the same medical provision.

Trauma care is a central part of NHS service provision which is accessible to all. The Trauma Audit and Research Network (TARN) suggest that approximately 16,000 people die every year from injury. It is the leading cause of death for those under the age of 44 and is a serious cause of long-term disability. Although these numbers are relative when compared to other leading causes of death such as cancer and most recently, COVID-19, what makes major trauma a concern is it’s unplanned, random nature. Despite major trauma’s severe and unpredictable nature, we are extremely fortunate that our health services, in particular major trauma centres (MTCs), deliver high-quality care that gives trauma patients the best chance of recovery. However, in order to tackle unconscious bias across all of our healthcare systems, we need to ensure that trauma care is administered to an equal and exacting standard for everyone, across all service provisions.

Two friends, one of whom has a prosthetic leg, walk along a pier illustrating how unconscious bias is affecting major trauma recovery
Unconscious bias is affecting major trauma recovery

There are indisputable health outcome inequalities for women, ethnic minorities and individuals from a less privileged socio-economic background, which should not be exacerbated when a major trauma injury occurs. Great improvements have been made in trauma care, healthcare provision and legal services, however, each case is different and the differences between clients need to be understood and accepted. As professionals in the trauma field, we must recognise this and be diverse in our thinking to overcome unconscious bias and deliver the best possible patient outcomes to all.

If you are interested in reading more of Trevor Sterling’s thoughts on the unconscious bias in major trauma recovery you can find the full article on the Clinical Services Journal website here:

The Major Trauma Group is a UK-wide network of experienced major trauma specialist solicitors who believe in the importance of rehabilitation.

You can contact the Major Trauma Group on 0330 311 2578 or email us at

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