New BMA chairman demands emergency pensions talks

Just hours after his election as BMA chairman, Dr Mark Porter has called for an emergency meeting with the government to discuss NHS pension scheme reform.

Dr Mark Porter is seeking an urgent meeting with health secretary Andrew Lansley
Dr Mark Porter is seeking an urgent meeting with health secretary Andrew Lansley

Dr  Porter, elected after the BMA annual representative meeting (ARM) closed today, is seeking an urgent meeting with health secretary Andrew Lansley to discuss the NHS pensions dispute.

The news comes after BMA Council voted to defer a decision about the next steps on industrial action at a special meeting after the ARM closed.

The council’s next meeting is scheduled for 18 July. Following that meeting the council should have details on how and when negotiations on the next stage of the government’s proposed changes will take place, the BMA said.

Dr Mark Porter said:  ‘It was clear from the debates at our annual meeting today that doctors remain angry at the government for tearing up a pensions deal reached only four years ago and which made the scheme sustainable for the future.

‘Our preferred option has always been to find a fairer way forward through negotiation and I want to explore that with the secretary of state for health. I will be writing to him to seek an urgent meeting.’

Doctors at the BMA’s annual meeting in Bournemouth voted in favour of more industrial action over pension reforms, including withdrawal of commissioning.

A DH spokeswoman said Mr Lansley had written to the NHS staff council setting out plans to press ahead with NHS pension reforms.

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