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Doctors start industrial action

21st June 2012

Doctors across the UK staged industrial action for the first time in almost 40 years leading to some non-urgent operations and routine hospital appointments being cancelled.

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The action, led by the British Medical Association, is over a row to changes to pension arrangements.

As well as hospital doctors boycotting non-urgent care, some GPs were also joining in the day of action, however emergency care is not being targeted.

The BMA had balloted 104,000 doctors about industrial action and half responded with 80% in favour of the action.

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said the doctors’ argument was not with the public but with the government and while patients would be inconvenienced he said doctors did not want to have the maximum impact on the public.

He said it was important to get back to “sensible discussions” with the government over the issue.

It was unclear how much impact the action would have and ahead of the action, some NHS trusts were saying fewer than 10% of bookings had been cancelled including consultant appointments over knee and hip replacements.

NHS Employers said it was “deeply concerned” about the distress the action would cause patients.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “The BMA has failed to recognise the economic and political realities. We all wish there was more money to go round but there isn't, everyone is having to tighten their belts.”

Ministers say the changes, which will see doctors having to work until they are 68 and contribute more of their pay to their pensions, are necessary.

 

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