BMA demands pension talks after meeting with Lansley

The BMA has launched a petition demanding meaningful talks after a meeting between the union and health secretary Andrew Lansley last week failed to break the deadlock on pension reforms.

Dr Meldrum: 'A ballot on industrial action remains a last resort.'
Dr Meldrum: 'A ballot on industrial action remains a last resort.'

The petition, which should go live later this week, calls on the government to re-open meaningful talks with health unions.

BMA chairman, Dr Hamish Meldrum, said of the talks: 'Lines of communication are open but the government has not yet shown a willingness to find a meaningful way of reaching a fairer offer.

'Now it’s a case of us doing everything we can to make clear to them the strength of feeling about why the proposals, as they stand, are unfair and unnecessary.'

He said the BMA would be devising numerous ways for doctors and other NHS staff to pressure the government into a return to the negotiating table before a ballot on industrial action was taken.

'We want to explore every possible avenue to reach an agreement that is fair and acceptable to both NHS staff and to taxpayers. A ballot on industrial action remains a last resort.'

The e-petition will say: 'We urge the DH, in conjunction with the governments of the devolved nations, to re-open meaningful negotiations with health unions to achieve a fair and amicable settlement on the future of the NHS pension scheme.

'The NHS pension scheme is not an unfair burden on taxpayers – in fact, it is currently providing a large positive cashflow to the Treasury. The settlement should reflect the fact that the NHS scheme underwent major changes only four years ago, with staff taking on responsibility for ensuring it is sustainable in the long term.'

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