Didn't you serve in the Armed Forces, Topper?
Maybe you have forgotten the old adage
:- "never volunteer".
However, if you are really
fed up with your lot, here's another idea:- look again at some of those who have been promoted (and - or - even some who you say have expressed "surprise"), and ask yourself what boxes they have ticked.
From what I have seen, "boxes ticked" seems to count more than technical competence, length of service, or what-have-you these days (and not just in the NHS)!