GPC plans industrial action advice as BMA hits out at Lansley

GP leaders have pledged to hand the profession clear legal advice on possible forms of industrial action, as the BMA hit back at DH claims that doctors should accept pension cuts.

Dr Meldrum rejected Mr Lansley’s claims that the BMA had accepted the scheme
Dr Meldrum rejected Mr Lansley’s claims that the BMA had accepted the scheme

Speaking after a GPC meeting on Thursday, GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said the committee would be issuing clear legal guidance on industrial action for GPs.

Dr Buckman said: ‘The GPC is working with BMA Council to ensure that GPs are aware of their position.’

The guidance will explain what form of industrial action GPs, both salaried and partners, can take. Dr Buckman said: ‘We will be issuing very clear guidance on what is allowed, what isn’t allowed and exactly what the concept of industrial action is.’

The news comes as BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum hit back at health secretary Andrew Lansley’s claims that the BMA had already accepted the government’s final offer on pensions.

A letter from Mr Lansley questioned the BMA’s decision to act on a poll in which 84% of its members called for the rejection of the government’s pension reforms.

He wrote: ‘Nor will the public accept, nor understand, how you can sign up to an excellent deal and walk away from it on the strength of an informal survey to which 36% of all your members responded.’

He claimed industrial action over pensions would put patients at risk.

But Dr Meldrum rejected Mr Lansley’s claims that the BMA had accepted the scheme. ‘As you know, the BMA did not sign up to the government’s proposed changes to the NHS pension scheme. Along with the other unions, we agreed to take the offer back to our members, and that is what we did.'

He said that doctors did not take industrial action lightly and discussions on taking action would only take place if further concessions could not be found.

‘Industrial action would be a last resort, taken only if we are unable to find an acceptable way forward,’ Dr Meldrum said.

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