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22-05-2012 | General practice | Article

LMCs back industrial action


LMC 2012

MedWire News: Local Medical Committee (LMC) leaders have sent a strong message to GP members of the BMA to vote 'yes' in the ongoing ballot on industrial action over pensions.

Debating the issue this morning at the LMCs Annual Conference in Liverpool, delegates overwhelmingly voted in support of industrial action that has a minimum negative impact on patient care - as outlined by the BMA leadership in the ballot.

Conference also more controversially voted in favour of including disengagement of GPs from clinical commissioning in any future industrial action, by the narrow margin of 45% for to 38% against, with 17% abstaining.

Proposer Dr Terry John from Waltham Forest LMC said that it was vital "to take a stand" and for LMCs to show they are "determined to see this through".

He added that it was important for GP BMA members to lead the way for those currently not in the doctors' union, as "all doctors will suffer if the proposals go through".

BMA GPs Committee member and pensions committee deputy Dr David Bailey assured doctors that the ballot wording over patients would not weaken the potential impact of the proposed industrial action. "It is not the same as saying it won't inconvenience patients," he noted.

Dr Bailey urged LMC representatives not to back a threat of disengagement from clinical commissioning, saying this could "leave the field open to the 'enthusiasts', the 5% who think clinical commissioning is a way of controlling the rest of us".

But Dr Danny Donovan from Cleveland LMC argued he would prefer to "inconvenience commissioning managers than patients", while Dr Anthony O'Brien from Devon said linking the pensions issue to commissioning - even if only possible in an informal way - would give GPs more power and offer a more positive debate in the media.

MedWire News is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Caroline Price