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Doctors vote on industrial action

30th May 2012

Doctors have voted to take industrial action over plans to change their pensions.

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It is the first time in four decades that GPs and consultants have taken such a step and could mean thousands of appointments and operations cancelled if the 24-hour strike goes ahead on June 21.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of council at the British Medical Association said: “We are taking this step very reluctantly, and would far prefer to negotiate for a fairer solution.”

However, he pointed to a clear mandate for action after a very high turnout and said it reflected how disappointed doctors were by the “Government’s unwillingness to find a fairer approach to the latest pension changes.”

Action could see non-urgent work postponed, though urgent operations and emergency care will be provided.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said patients would not understand, or sympathise, with the action.

“People know that pension reform is needed as people live longer and to be fair in future for everyone. We have been clear that the NHS pension scheme is, and will remain, one of the best available anywhere,” he said.

In the ballot GPs voted by 13,837 to 3,687 for action short of a strike and by 11,062 to 6,426 to strike. Consultants voted by 15,733 to 2,938 for industrial action and by 13,637 to 5,021 for strikes.

The NHS Employers organisation expressed its disappointment and director Dean Royles said: “Doctors know that any industrial action will impact on care and cause distress and disruption to patients and undermine trust and confidence in the medical profession.”

 

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