The British honours system is one of the oldest in the world rewarding individuals, including those of the medical profession. The authors were interested to see if any particular specialty was honoured to a greater extent. We aimed to establish the number of those honoured, the duration of clinical practice involved, as well as additional factors.
A retrospective analysis of doctors receiving honours (Knight/Dame, CBE, OBE, MBE) in the last decade was performed.
Doctors were identified from publicly available listings.
Main outcome measures
Demographics of all honoured doctors, including number of years of service, specialty affiliation and the number of recipients holding professorial status were collected. Clinicians were stratified into four subgroups: General Practitioners, Physicians, Surgeons and Others. Data were analysed using parametric statistical tests.
Four hundred and seventeen doctors were identified. Four hundred and two clinicians had a documented subspecialty affiliation. Of the 402: GPs (n = 142), Physicians (n = 100), Surgeons (n = 34) and Others (n = 126). The number of years in clinical practice from registration to conference of honours was significantly shorter for GPs when compared to hospital-based specialties (P < 0.05). The top 10 specialties of individuals honoured are tabulated. Professors constituted 30% (n = 131) of those honoured. These individuals were sub-divided according to specialty affiliation with a significant difference observed (P < 0.05).
The most honoured specialty was General Practice. However, when corrected for total subspecialty population, the number one ranking specialty was Public Health Medicine. Academic clinicians are well represented. The findings may be of interest to the medical community.