BMA mulls fresh industrial action as government rules out pension talks

BMA Council will today discuss the possibility of future pensions industrial action, after the government refused to reopen negotiations on changes to the NHS scheme.

Dr Mark Porter
Dr Mark Porter

Wednesday's BMA Council meeting in Edinburgh comes after a meeting between BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter and health secretary Andrew Lansley yesterday.

Despite the DH being clear that the meeting was ‘introductory’ and not a platform to negotiate on pensions, BMA Council members said the meeting’s outcome would be key to any decision on industrial action.

BMA council member and GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the outcome of the meeting  would be key in influencing how the council voted on pensions.

He said: ‘I think we have to await the outcome of the meeting between Dr Porter and Andrew Lansley.’

However a DH spokeswoman said that although the two men did discuss changes to the NHS pension scheme, among other issues, Mr Lansley would not be ‘reopening discussions with doctors on pensions’.

Earlier this week, BMA deputy pensions committee chairman Dr David Bailey said the best outcome for the meeting would be for the government to return to the negotiating table.

‘We hope to achieve further face-to-face discussions. Basically it’s about seeing if we can reach some sort of settlement in the future,’ Dr Bailey said.

In June GPs cancelled non-urgent, routine appointments and saw only emergency patients during a day of industrial action over the pension reforms. Last month representatives at the BMA annual representative meeting in Bournemouth voted in favour of future industrial action.

The DH spokeswoman said the department would continue to work with all health unions, including the BMA, on implementing NHS pension reforms.

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