Health secretary rejects BMA appeal for fresh pension talks

Health secretary Andrew Lansley has rejected calls for fresh talks on plans to overhaul NHS pensions, dismissing a BMA poll of 46,000 doctors as an 'informal survey'.

Mr Lansley: ‘There is no justification for industrial action’
Mr Lansley: ‘There is no justification for industrial action’

The BMA wrote to the government on Wednesday urging it to urgently rethink its plans for pensions after a poll found that 84% of members believed the proposals should be rejected and 63% personally would be prepared to take industrial action to pursue changes to the proposals.

Mr Lansley made it clear in a written reply to BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum that any further negotiations would not be an option.

‘I should reiterate that, as we discussed, the Heads of Agreement deal… was the best possible deal,’ Mr Lansley wrote.

If a significant change in the government’s position cannot be agreed, the BMA has said it will ballot the profession on industrial action after emergency talks on 25 February to define what form this action would take.

In his letter to the BMA, Mr Lansley said the government was offering doctors an 'excellent deal' and therefore ‘there is no justification for industrial action’.

‘Nor will the public accept it, nor understand, how you can sign up to an excellent deal and walk away from it on the strength of an informal survey to which less than 36% of all your members responded,' he added.

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