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Patient safety a priority for BMA

1st March 2012

With the threat of industrial action by doctors for the first time in decades, the British Medical Association has issued a pledge over patient safety.

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It stresses that patient safety will be at the heart of planning for any possible industrial action over NHS pensions.

While the BMA has ruled out strike action, work towards the first ballot of BMA members since 1975 is under way after the BMA council agreed it was the only option in the face of the government’s refusal to reopen meaningful talks on NHS pensions.

In the meantime, the BMA will continue to lobby the government for fresh negotiations to avert industrial action altogether.

BMA council chairman Hamish Meldrum said: “Our fight is with the government, not with patients. Patients always come first, and if industrial action should become necessary the priority would be to limit disruption and prevent harm to patients.

“That is why we have completely ruled out strike action, and are committed to reviewing the risks for patients at every stage.”

Health secretary Andrew Lansley has said he believed there was no justification for industrial action and that any such move by doctors would harm patients.

No date has yet been set for the ballot but the BMA is looking to work with employers and other organisations to minimise risk to patients.

The Department of Health will also continue to hold weekly discussions with all the trade unions, including the BMA.

Under the proposed pension arrangements, ministers are proposing an end to hospital doctors’ final-salary scheme in favour of a career-average scheme for all doctors.

 

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