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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Doctors vote by huge majority for industrial action over pensions

In a highly significant move the BMA the British Medical association has vote for a clear majority for industrial action and action short of industrial action this June over a dispute over pensions. This is big news as Doctors are not known for their militancy and always have to be careful to keep public perception on their side. I think this could turn out to be one of the most significant parts to this dispute as people will say if the doctors are striking it must be pretty serious as they don’t take industrial action lightly then again no one does but doctors especially due to the nature of their job.
Doctors will stop providing non-urgent care for a day next month in the first industrial action by the profession for nearly 40 years.
The move comes after a majority of doctors voted in favour of action in a British Medical Association ballot of 104,000 members over pension changes.
The 24-hour day of action will take place on 21 June.
The union said emergency care would still take place, as doctors did not want to put patients at risk.
Of those balloted, half responded. Among the main groups of doctors the results were overwhelming.
Some 79% of GPs, 84% of hospital consultants and 92% of junior doctors who responded voted in favour.
By targeting non-urgent care, patients are likely to be affected in this way:
• Elective operations such as knee and hip replacements likely to be postponed
• GP practices to remain open, but routine appointments will not take place
• Hospital appointments for routine conditions expected to be cancelled
• Tests for critical conditions such as cancer will still be available
• A&E units and maternity services to run as normal


Contributions will rise the greatest for the highest earners. Those earning over £110,000 a year will end up contributing 14.5% of their salary.
Many may understand that approach, but doctors believe they are being unfairly targeted.
They point out that the top-paid civil servants will not be hit in the same way - and that perceived injustice has put the profession at loggerheads with the government.
It will be the first time since 1975 that doctors have taken industrial action.
It is not yet known whether the day of action will be followed by further ones.
Unions representing a host of health professionals, including paramedics, admin staff and porters, have already taken part in strikes over pension changes.
Patient safety 'safeguarded'
But the Royal College of Nursing, one of the most influential voices inside the NHS alongside the BMA, has yet to decide what it will do.
It has held a ballot where the majority rejected the government's pension changes, but the turnout was low.
Under the plans, which apply to England and Wales but could be introduced elsewhere in the UK, the age at which doctors retire would rise from 65 to 68 by 2015.
The contributions doctors have to make are also due to rise.
Which will mean just like other public sector workers they will be made to work longer, pay more and get less and none of this will benefit them in anyway it is going to help pay off the deficit, the deficit ordinary public sector workers did not cause. So I for one will be extending my solidarity with doctors on the day of action. No doubt the government will try and tar them as disruptive and all the other nonsense but they have been left with no other choice. A fair pension for all is fair whetehr your public or private sector. Let’s unite today for fair pensions and stop this robbery!

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