Delegates at the Annual Representatives' Meeting in Cardiff overwhelmingly backed an option to 'ballot BMA membership regarding all forms of industrial action' if government attacks on pensions continue.
It means the BMA Council can consider an industrial action ballot in the event that the government 'halt the final salary pension scheme and replace it with an unfavourable career average (CARE) scheme for doctors'.
Presenting the motion on behalf of the Consultants Committee, Dr Jan Wise said: 'This isn't saying we are going to strike, it's giving us that option. I would suggest at this time all options need to be available.
'If we don't do something, we are going to pay more, work longer and receive less.'
GP Dr Mary Church reminded ARM delegates that GPs had voted against industrial action at the recent LMCs conference.
Dr Church warned doctors that they would risk losing the trust of their patients if they moved to industrial action.
‘This conference has been supporting trust. If we take industrial action we will lose that trust forever. Please let’s not resort to industrial action.’
However BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum supported the call for a ballot. He said the motion was not a ‘threat’ to take industrial action, but an ‘intention to ballot’.
In his speech to delegates, chairman of the BMA pensions committee, Dr Andrew Dearden said: 'The government needs to be absolutely clear that we will use every means possible to fight this change and protect our pensions.'