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BMA rejects suggestions that GPs could strike during UK swine flu outbreak

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Doctors’ leaders have rejected suggestions that GPs could refuse to work in the event of a serious swine flu outbreak in the UK because of concerns over insurance cover.

National newspapers said the British Medical Association had warned that GPs could strike over concerns that their personal indemnity cover would not be adequate protection against being sued by patients in the event of a serious swine flu outbreak.

Additionally, it was reported that GPs were worried about the range of their death-in-service payments. For example, would a locum’s family receive insurance payments if the doctor died while working at the weekend.  

But Dr Laurence Buckman, chair of the BMA’s GPs Committee, said the strike suggestions were ‘misleading’.

‘GPs are not considering and have never considered strike action over this issue and the BMA would not support such action. Media reports claiming this to be the case are wholly inaccurate,’ he said.

‘Indeed the evidence so far is that GPs in areas where there have been outbreaks have pulled out all the stops for their patients and I have complete faith that this will continue to be the case,’ he added.

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