BMA reveals how GPs can support 30 November pension strikes

The BMA has published a set of FAQs on the 30 November pensions day of action outlining what GPs can do to show their support.

Block the bridge protest against the Health Bill earlier this month

The web page also includes a specific section for GPs, outlining clearly their position as employers of staff members who may wish to take part in strike action.

The BMA was clear that GPs must attend work as normal on the day of action. However it suggested a number of ways doctors can still show their support for the strikes.

What can GPs do to show support:

  • Wear campaign items, such as stickers, carrying a message of support – and encourage colleagues, family and friends to do the same.
  • Consider donating to a local strike fund, where these exist.
  • Help to raise awareness amongst all doctors, through meetings and social media.
  • Write to local media to make sure they have the real facts and impacts.
  • Attend a meeting in their lunch hour.
  • Deliver refreshments to a picket line, provided they are prepared and delivered in your time.

The BMA will distribute campaign materials and tools directly to members closer to the day of action.

GPs were also encouraged to contact their LMC or BMA division or regional council to join forces with colleagues on the campaign.

As employers, GPs cannot stop staff members from taking part in industrial action, the BMA said.

‘The BMA is encouraging GPs to take a tolerant attitude to lawful industrial action by their staff on the day of action, bearing in mind that patient safety must be paramount.’

GPs should have time to prepare in the event of staff taking action, as the law states that employees must be issued notice in advance of a ballot for industrial action and of a decision to proceed.

The notice will identify the type of action contemplated and the types of employee likely to be involved, the BMA said.

Action by practice staff should not affect GMS or PMS contracts. However the BMA advised GPs to contact their primary care organisation (PCO) to clarify what is expected of them.

‘It is likely that GP practices will be expected to take reasonable action to mitigate any disruption,’ the BMA said.

GPs must not hire agency staff to cover any practice staff taking part in industrial action as it would be a criminal offence.

‘Strictly speaking, it would be the agency which commits the offence.  However, there is risk that a doctor could also be prosecuted for aiding and abetting,’ the union warned.

Although the BMA is not currently balloting members on industrial action, the union explained what possible future action could involve.

GPs may be concerned that as the NHS is not their employer they may not be able to take industrial action over changes to their NHS pension.

However the BMA explained that is possible, that in certain circumstances, ‘for lawful industrial action to be taken where a dispute arises directly with the government’.

The BMA said industrial action includes a strike (where ‘workers’ refuse to work) and action short of a strike. The latter includes (though this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Refusal to perform administrative or other duties.
  • An overtime ban.
  • Work to contract.
  • Unauthorised sickness – or other – absence.
  • Withdrawal of goodwill.
  • A ‘go slow’.
  • A boycott of management meetings.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in


Just published

Young doctor

BMA poll could see 'demeaning' junior doctor title ditched

The BMA could drop the term 'junior doctor' in favour of 'resident doctor' to better...

Houses of parliament

Tory peer calls PA fears 'Luddism' and claims most GP visits 'incredibly straightforward'

Most GP appointments are 'incredibly straightforward' and fears over a wider role...

UK money

NHS pension contribution overhaul to go ahead from April

Changes to NHS pension contribution rates, which will see the top earners required...

BMA sign

BMA warns £800m lost from GP contract since 2019 as last-ditch talks continue

BMA negotiators remain in talks over an improved GP contract offer for 2024/25 just...

GP consultation

GPs still under pressure to prescribe black triangle drug inclisiran

GPs are continuing to face pressure to prescribe the black triangle drug inclisiran...

BMA chair Professor Phil Banfield

Lords urged to block legislation for GMC to regulate PAs

The BMA has urged peers to block legislation that would make the GMC responsible...