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BMA to join nurses in pensions talks

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The British Medical Association has announced it is “suspending plans for further industrial action” and will join talks between other health unions and government about the detail of pension reform proposals.

The doctors’ union took strike action - in which medics were asked not to provide non-urgent care - over the plans on 21 June. Other health unions - including the Royal College of Nursing and Unison - had already decided against industrial action.

The BMA’s strike was widely judged to be a public relations failure, although the union has cited independent polling showing people were more likely to take its side than that of the government.

A meeting of the BMA Council yesterday decided against further action. A statement following the meeting said the government had already “written to [other] health unions to begin talks to review the impact of working longer and consider the proposed increases to contributions in years two and three and how tiered contributions relate to these”. It says, “council agreed that no further industrial action will be planned at this stage and the BMA will take part in these talks”.

BMA Council chair Mark Porter said: “Industrial action was never our preferred way forward. We would always far prefer to seek changes to the government’s plans for NHS pensions through negotiation and lobbying, rather than taking action that could jeopardise the much valued relationship with our patients.

“We always said that we would review our action in order to determine next steps. Having done that, it is clear that only escalated action has any possibility of causing the government to rethink its whole programme of changes.”

NHS Employers director Dean Royles said: “The NHS will breathe a sigh of relief that there will be no more industrial action for the moment.

“We hope we can use this time constructively. The very threat of industrial action risks patient care, hits confidence in the doctors and strains the workplace relationships that are so important to the quality and safety of our services.”

  • 3 Comments

Readers' comments (3)

  • even if we come to an agreement on pensions, there is more misery on the horizons....

    changing terms and conditions for agenda for change...all attack on pay

    closures of some hospitals with the loss of vital services and jobs

    this govt wont stop until the nhs is finally privatised...roll on the general election..at least under labour the nhs was allowed to get on with its job and waiting times etc were down

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  • I agree with above. The unions have got a huge fight on their hands with this Government who are intent on destroying NHS staff. I live in the South West and our Chief Exec has joined "The Cartel". All the NHS unions need to work closely together to beat this one because Andrew Lansley is determined to to smash national pay and conditions, and that will signify ruin for many of us.

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  • Strange to point out Labour's role in nhs when it was under their government that the financial recession began!!! The increase in administration staff in hospitals and healthboards increased under labour as they asked for more and more statistics and information. The patient was not their priority but statistics to try and show how well they were doing. If nothing else the financial recession shows what a great job they did!!! Unfortunately getting out of a recession takes a lot longer . . . it's a bit like trying to loose weight it always goes on quicker than it comes of. Regardless of who is in government pensions and anything money related will not be easy to resolve in this financial climate.

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