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Pensions disagreement forces BMA to ballot on industrial action

Pensions disagreement forces BMA to ballot on industrial action
Published:  28 Feb at 2 PM
The government’s pension reforms have resulted in the British Medical Association making the decision to introduce a ballot on industrial action for doctors. The decision was taken after a meeting on Saturday, but the association has said that any action taken will not be in the form of a walkout.

The government has pushed the age of retirement for doctors to 68 and said that the highest earners will have to make contributions of 14.5 per cent. Ministers claim that this is fair for staff and taxpayers. However, chairman of the BMA’s Consultant’s Committee Dr Mark Porter doesn’t agree and said that there was no option left but to ballot.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said that he was disappointed by the BMA’s decision adding that any action would be fruitless. Doctors who were on a final salary scheme will now see that option closed and be moved onto a career average scheme.

A date now needs to be set for the ballot and the BMA needs to decide what sort of action it will take in the event of a positive vote. Dr Porter did however say that the fight was with the government and any action taken would have a minimal impact on patients.

Last month, a survey of BMA members found that around two-thirds of respondents would be in favour of industrial action if the government was not prepared to amend its offer. Possible action could include doctors deciding to take all of their breaks, or a withdrawal of non-emergency services.