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Doctors taking industrial action due to pension dispute

Written on:May 31, 2023
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BMA doctors took to streets over pension row

The doctors’ union, the British Medical Association, announced yesterday that doctors will postpone non-urgent operations, outpatients appointments and GP consultations due to a dispute over pensions.

The day of industrial action was called after a ballot of 104,000 BMA members returned overwhelming support for action and a 50% turnout.

Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, said the public would not understand or sympathise with the decision to take action while Andy Burnham, Shadow Health Secretary, urged doctors to ‘pull back’.

The action will affect tens of thousands of patients and cost the NHS at least £40 million. Critics said the action will leave patients “waiting in pain” for surgery and called doctors “greedy” for planning industrial action over a pension still worth £50,000 per year in retirement.

The proposed postponement of work by the doctors is crucial as there are around 25,000 routine operations carried out in the NHS in Britain each day, including hernia repairs, joint replacements, hysterectomies and cataract removal.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the BMA Council admitted there would be inconvenience to patients, and yet he justified the doctors’ decision. “This is not a step that doctors take lightly – this is the first industrial action doctors have taken since 1975.”, he proclaimed.

Dr Meldrum continued, “We have consistently argued that the Government should reconsider its position, and even at this stage we would much prefer to negotiate a fairer deal than to take action. We are not seeking preferential treatment but fair treatment.

“The government’s wholesale changes to an already reformed NHS pension scheme cannot be justified.”

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