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BMA urges Lansley to reopen pension talks

29 June 2012

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The British Medical Association (BMA) has made yet another plea to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to urgently reopen pension talks as members approve further industrial action.

Dr Mark Porter, the BMA’s newly-elected Chair of Council, said it is clear doctors are still “angry” at the government and said he was committed to finding a “fairer way forward” through negotiation.

Lansley said while he would welcome the opportunity to meet with Dr Porter to discuss the pension reform, it must take place alongside other trade unions.

”We cannot prioritise doctors over all other health workers when they have one of the most generous pension schemes,” he said.

Yesterday (28 June) BMA members voted through a motion approving further industrial action that could see only emergency patients being seen in hospitals and a withdrawal of doctors from CCGs.

The motion did however stop short of naming a date for the proposed day of action.

 Dr Porter said a final decision on industrial action would be delayed until the council meets again on 18th July.

Outgoing BMA Council Chair Dr Hamish Meldrum told members on Monday (25 June) to find a resolution to the pension row rather than “escalating” the tensions.

“Last week we demonstrated a powerful and unified voice but nobody should be rushing to repeat or escalate the action,” he said.

“However angry we may be, we must not lose the trust of the public and we must not let anger prevent us from seeking a solution.”

Lansley urged doctors to heed Dr Heldrum’s call, claiming last week’s industrial action on the 21 June caused “unnecessary distress and inconvenience”.

Trade union Unite has also called for a return to the negotiating table over pensions, condemning Lansley’s actions in “imposing the changes” on NHS workers.