Industrial Action Latest: Patient safety concerns stop GPs from taking pensions industrial action

Patient safety concerns mean that only one in four practices are taking pensions industrial action on 21 June, a GP investigation has found.

Dr Sanford-Wood: 'I don’t think anyone should be under any misconception that people are increasingly angry.’
Dr Sanford-Wood: 'I don’t think anyone should be under any misconception that people are increasingly angry.’

An investigation by GP has found that 21% of practices have alerted their PCT to the fact that they are taking industrial action on Thursday 21 June.

A ballot of BMA members in May revealed 78% of GPs backed industrial action on a turn-out of 53%.

Figures from 11 PCTs  and three LMCs revealed that in total 359 practices out of 1,660 will take industrial action on 21 June. Overall 21% of practice are therefore expected to be taking action.

Devon LMC chairman Dr Mark Sanford-Wood, said the findings reflected the situation in his local area – where 31 of the 160 practices were taking action.

Dr Sanford-Wood said that although the figures were disappointing from a BMA perspective they were also understandable.

‘I think it’s understandable. I don’t think anyone should be under any misconception that people not are increasingly angry.’

Dr Sanford-Wood said that he thought GPs who had voted in favour of taking action may have decided not to go ahead with it because they were concerned about how it could affect patient care.

‘What I’ve hearing from colleagues in Devon is that they are very angry about this. They voted for action but when it came to it, it is an incredibly difficult and finely balanced decision [to take action].’

Dr Sanford-Wood said it was to GPs' credit that many were unable to take action, even though they felt extremely angry about pension reforms.

‘The values of patient care run very deep,’ he said.

Liverpool LMC secretary Dr Rob Barnett said that in his area 50% of the 95 local practices were saying they would take part.

‘I didn’t quite know what the support was going to be like. There are a lot of people incensed by what has gone on,’ he said.

Wessex LMCs chief executive Dr Nigel Watson said that around 10% of the 450 practices in his local area had said they would be taking part.

‘We’ve to letters coming in but they only account for a tenth of our practices.  Not everyone is a BMA member so it’s quite difficult for practices to take action,’ he said.


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