Wednesday, November 22, 2017
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Doctors Lift Threat

BMA

In what seems like an unending spiral of strike action, the British Medical Association (BMA) has lifted the threat of any further industrial action from doctors over pensions.

Instead they plan on reengaging in talks with the Government concerning their pensions.

Doctors had taken a limited strike action in June. Although doctors did turn up to work in hospitals and GP practices across the country, they refused to see any non-urgent cases. This included postponing a number of operations and appointments. The strike had been held to express doctors views on the planned changes to their pensions. These changes would result in many having to make a larger personal contribution than before and some would have to work more years before they could retire. Part of the issue was that a pension plan had only just been agreed relatively recently in 2008. Many believed that that would be it. In addition, however, the union feels that doctors are being affected by the need to amend pensions more so than other comparatively high earners. They do not feel that this is fair given how hard they work. There has been a fear amongst the profession that it would return to a time where they were simply over-worked and underpaid for their efforts.

Although the Government had been in talks with other health unions, it had insisted that BMA drop its threat to strike again before it would be allowed to re-enter discussions. ?Dr Mark Porter, Chairman of the BMA, explained "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. The BMA and the profession as a whole are unwilling to do that at this point because of the impact on patients."

The news is welcomed by Dean Royles, Director of NHS Employers, who 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." At the moment it is believed that it is highly unlikely that the Government will make concessions to its plans other than perhaps the time-tabling for their introduction. Negotiations are believed to centre around when the changes could be introduced as well as the type of work that those doctors who do have to work up until a later age will be asked to perform.

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