- Helen Jaques
Doctors at the BMA’s annual representative meeting have called for further industrial action in their dispute with the government over changes to the NHS pension scheme.
The association’s governing council, headed by its newly elected chairman, Mark Porter, has deferred a decision on the next steps on industrial action and is instead seeking an urgent meeting with Andrew Lansley, the health secretary for England, to discuss the dispute.
Porter said, “It was clear from the debates today that doctors remain angry at the government for tearing up a pensions deal reached only four years ago and that made the scheme sustainable for the future. Our preferred option has always been to find a fairer way forward through negotiation, and I want to explore that with the secretary of state for health.” Further industrial action is, however, a “possibility,” he added.
Representatives at the annual meeting agreed that the council should consider a range of options for further industrial action, including withdrawing from clinical commissioning, providing a Christmas Day style emergency only service in hospitals, and coordinating action with other unions.
Around a third of general practices and four in five hospitals were affected when doctors across the United Kingdom took industrial action for 24 hours on 21 June.1 …