Members of the BMA begin strike ballot over pensions

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Doctors are today being urged to take strike action for the first time in 37 years.

BMA Chairman of Council Dr Hamish Meldrum said: “This is an historic moment for doctors. We are seeking a mandate to take industrial action for the first time since 1975, to send a clear message to government that their changes are unnecessary and that a fairer way forward should be found.

“We would not be taking this step if we thought there was any other option. We understand that this is a difficult decision for many doctors, but if they are willing to take the action we propose, they should vote ‘yes / yes’ in the ballot. The most important thing, however, is that members vote, whatever their views.”

Today the BMA has also published new guidance on the industrial action it is asking doctors to take. They would need to attend their place of work as usual, if scheduled to be working, and provide all emergency care, or other care urgently needed by patients, but non-urgent work would be postponed, following advance planning with employers. There are four sets of new guidance, which provide more detail about what the action would mean in hospitals, general practice, public health and occupational health.

While the BMA has ruled out a complete withdrawal of labour, the ballot paper will carry two questions: one asking whether doctors are willing to take part in industrial action short of a strike, and one asking whether they are willing to take part in a strike.

The ballot starts just days after 400,000 fellow public servants walked out over pensions on May 10th.


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