The Observational Physician and surGEon Automobile Response (TOP GEAR) survey

Melissa Ellis, Michelle Sun, Megan Wood and WengOnn Chan
Med J Aust 2018; 209 (11): . || doi: 10.5694/mja18.00890
Published online: 10 December 2018


Objective: To determine whether surgeons and junior doctors intending to pursue careers in surgery are more likely to purchase more expensive vehicles and to replace them sooner than colleagues of similar seniority pursuing non-surgical careers.

Design and setting: Survey of practising medical officers at an Australian tertiary referral hospital.

Main outcome measures: Car value; proportion of doctors who bought their car new; median time to replacement of vehicle.

Results: 154 doctors participated in the survey (17% response rate). 49% were interns, residents or unaccredited registrars, 18% were accredited registrars or fellows, and 31% were consultants; 40% of respondents were surgical trainees or consultants. 59% of surgical trainees and consultants purchased their car new, compared with 38% of non-surgical doctors (P = 0.013); 52% of doctors in the junior surgeon group purchased their car new, compared with 28% of non-surgeon junior doctors (P = 0.019). Median car value was $16 500 (IQR, $9350–37 000) for surgeons and $8500 (IQR, $4400–14 100) for non-surgeons (P < 0.001); 30% of surgeons owned cars valued at more than $50 000, compared with 6% of non-surgeons (P = 0.025). The median time to replacement was 5–7 years for surgeons and 7–10 years for non-surgeons (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Surgeons more frequently purchase their cars new and replace their cars earlier than non-surgeons, and the median value of their vehicles is higher. These findings were consistent across all levels of seniority.

  • Melissa Ellis
  • Michelle Sun
  • Megan Wood
  • WengOnn Chan

  • The Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, SA

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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