BMA strike 'unlikely' even if backed by members

BMA council is unlikely to initiate industrial action even if members vote for it at this month's Special Representative Meeting (SRM), according to the GP set to chair the debate.

Dr Steve Hajioff, chairman of the BMA's representative body, said the BMA had now received over 500 motions for the meeting, which covered 'the whole gamut of issues resulting from the Health Bill'.

But he said that despite mounting pressure on the BMA to take action against the reforms, the BMA Council's powers would be limited by industrial relations legislation. Even if members vote for strike action, it will only be a recommendation that is passed to the council, he said.

'If the SRM does vote to take action it will be a request for the council to consider it. That said, it is very difficult to take any action against what is a political matter, even if members wanted it.

'There has to be a dispute between members and the employer, according to the law.'

A meeting of the BMA's London Regional Council has already called for the profession to reject the health bill 'in its entirety', with factions within the BMA already plotting 'days of action' to block the reforms.

Last week GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman attacked the main plank of the government's health reforms, claiming that its pre-election pledge to devolve power to clinicians has been broken. He has since branded the concept of awarding GPs a quality premium for saving money through commissioning ‘disgracefully unethical’.

The meeting will take place on 15 March in London.

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