Saturday, 29 May 2010


In three weeks time the attention of a small number of our colleagues will be diverted to the Queen’s birthday honours list. I won’t be looking. It is a safe bet that my name will not be on it. This might sound like sour grapes, but my own view is that the whole concept is antiquated, anachronistic and arbitrary. Like Clinical Excellence Awards we all know of deserving non recipients, and undeserving (in our opinion) recipients.

Outside medicine I am constantly bemused by the sight of knighthoods, MBEs etc being given to such deserving types as entertainers and sportsmen for doing no more than a very well paid job, while the auxiliary ward nurse (or whatever they are called these days) up to her elbows in shit every day for a pittance goes unrecognised.

It is apparent too that many honours, particularly knighthoods, frequently seem to be awarded automatically to those who have attained a certain post, not only in medicine but also the civil service, the military, law etc. I think this devalues the entire concept. Just get to the top of the greasy pole and you get a knighthood as an added bonus. There does not seem to be any requirement that you will have achieved anything special or worthwhile. Just sit at your desk for a while, do your (highly paid) job without screwing up too badly, and you end up a “Sir”

In my next few posts I am going to look, one by one, at some of our medical knights. What have they achieved. Have they earned it, or are they, in the words of Ben Elton, just a suit full of bugger all.

Now, who shall I start with?


  1. I am very impressed with your insightful posts and that you have considered the nursing role in the care of patients. Disappointed a little that you do not know what we are "called
    these days".

  2. I think the auxiliary nurse these days is called a "Health care assistant"
    I prefer the old term

  3. Hey DocZorro, nice work! I agree it's so anti-meritocratic.

    To fix the 'broken' society the people at the top should start by fixing things at the top. Some example they set.

    So did you ever "look, one by one, at some of our medical knights"? as you mentioned above. I had a look around but no joy..

  4. Yes I did, I looked at three. Look in June's posts (in the menu below followers) for "the NICE Knight", "the GMC Knight"and "the Chief Medical Knight"