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19-07-2012 | General practice | Article

BMA suspends industrial action

Abstract

BMA Pension Changes

MedWire News: The BMA has suspended industrial action and entered into talks with the government and other health unions over planned pension changes.

The decision was taken at the BMA Council meeting, held on the 18 July, to decide how to follow up the day of industrial action taken on the 21 June, when doctors withdrew from providing planned appointments and non-urgent care for the day (click here).

Dr Mark Porter, Chair of Council, said in a press release: "We always said that we would review our action in order to determine next steps. Having done that, it is clear that only escalated action has any possibility of causing the government to rethink its whole programme of changes.

"The BMA and the profession as a whole are unwilling to do that at this point because of the impact on patients. We will not, therefore, plan any further action at this stage and will take part in the talks the government has offered on the detail of the pension changes."

However, he emphasised: "But while the scope of the talks remains limited, Council also decided to step up campaigning activities, particularly around the move to link the normal pension age for all NHS staff to the state pension age, currently moving to 68 and potentially to go further. There are already precedents for front line staff in the public sector, such as the police, to have lower retirement ages because of the nature of their work."

Dr Porter concluded that the BMA Council had not ruled out further industrial action and remain committed to fighting for a fair deal for doctors.

MedWire (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Lynda Williams