Objectives To compare proportional representation of healthcare specialty workers, in receipt of New Year Honours (NYHs) and examine system bias.
Design Observational study of UK honours system including comparative analysis of proportional representation of the UK medical workforce.
Participants Recipients of NYHs from 2010 to 2019.
Main outcome measures Absolute risk of receiving an NYH, related to medical specialty, gender and geographical region. Relative risk (RR) of receiving an NYH for services to healthcare related to specialty.
Results 11 207 NYHs were bestowed, with 368 (3.3%) awarded to healthcare professionals: 212 (57.6%) women, 156 (42.4%) men. The RR of a healthcare professional receiving an NYH was 0.76 (95% CI 0.68 to 0.84, p<0.001) when compared with the remaining UK workforce. Doctors received most NYHs (n=181), with public health, clinical oncology and general medicine specialties most likely to be rewarded (RR 20.35 (95% CI 9.61 to 43.08, p<0.001), 8.43 (95% CI 2.70 to 26.30, p<0.001) and 8.22 (95% CI 6.22 to 10.86, p<0.001)), respectively; anaesthetists received fewest NYHs (RR 0.52 (95% CI 0.13 to 2.10), p=0.305). Men were more likely to receive NYHs than women (OR 0.44, 95% CI 0.36 to 0.54; p<0.001). Two hundred and fifty-four NYHs (69.0%) were bestowed on residents of England (60, 16.3% London), 49 (13.3%) Scotland (p=0.003), 39 (10.6%) Wales (p<0.001) and 26 (7.1%) Northern-Ireland (p<0.001).
Conclusions Relative risk of receiving an NYH varied over 150-fold by specialty, twofold by gender and threefold by geographical location. Public health physicians are perceived to be the pick of the parade.
- general medicine (see internal medicine)
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request.
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Correction notice This article has been corrected since it first published. The provenance and peer review statement has been included.
Contributors WGL conceived and designed the study, oversaw the data analysis, refined the reporting of the work and is the guarantor of this work. KM collected the data, analysed the data and reported the work. AP contributed to data analysis and reporting of the work. OPJ, DBTR, LH and RJE contributed to reporting of the work. All authors approved the final manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.