GP practices to take industrial action over pensions on 30 November

GP practices will take industrial action alongside thousands of NHS staff on 30 November to protest over pension reforms.

Dr Kambiz Boomla: provide duty doctor cover only for patients ‘to allow as many staff as possible to attend events’
Dr Kambiz Boomla: provide duty doctor cover only for patients ‘to allow as many staff as possible to attend events’

A small number of practices will offer emergency appointments only to allow staff to take part in the protests.

The BMA has not balloted members over strikes. But some GPs have been balloted as Medical Practitioners Union (MPU) members, part of the public sector union Unite.

A total of 75% of health, civil service and local authority members of Unite voted to join the ‘day of action' on 30 November. The ballot had a turnout of 31%.

Unite members also include practice nurses, practice managers and pharmacists.

MPU chairman Dr Ron Singer said: ‘I know of some practices that are intending to have emergency services only or will have a period of time (during working hours) to congregate outside with placards.’

Action by MPU members makes clear the kind of steps practices could take in the event of a BMA ballot over industrial action in future.

Dr Kambiz Boomla, MPU member and a GP in east London, said his practice would provide duty doctor cover only for patients ‘to allow as many staff as possible to attend events’.

The practice will remain open and staffed and patients requiring urgent care will be able to see a GP, he said. But no booked appointments will be available for 30 November.

Dr Boomla said other practices locally would be taking some form of action. ‘I don’t think we’ll be the only practice in Tower Hamlets,’ he said.

Dr Singer urged GPs to ‘stay within the law, make sure the relevant people are aware of the action you intend to take’.

Meanwhile, GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman hit out at ‘inappropriate’ NHS Employers calls for NHS staff off sick on 30 November to obtain a sick note from their GP.

Dr Boomla said he was disappointed that the BMA had not held a ballot on strikes.

GPs are only able to take part in industrial action on 30 November if they are members of a union that has voted 'yes' in a ballot on industrial action.


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