25 Feb 2012

Doctors to be balloted over pension reforms

The British Medical Association will ballot its 130,000 members on industrial action of the government’s pension reforms – but has ruled out taking any strike action.

The governing body of the British Medical Association (BMA) today decided that doctors and medical students should vote on whether to take action over the government’s controversial public sector cuts.

However the BMA has ruled out any strike action reducing the impact on patients across the country.

The ballot is the first of its kind the BMA has held since the 1970s and follows an overwhelming rejection by doctors and medical students of Andrew Lansley’s “final” offer on pensions.

The BMA said the changes would see younger doctors paying more than £200,000 extra over their lifetime in pension contributions and work eight years longer, to 68.

Officials have urged the Government to reopen talks with the health unions, but said neither the Treasury or the Health Department had signalled any change to their position.

Andrew Lansley was mobbed by angry NHS campaigners earlier this week when he spoke to a group of parties excluded from a government held NHS summit.

The health secretary stopped to talk to one woman who said: “I’ve had enough of you and Cameron.” Mr Lansley denied that the bill would result in privatisation, but she responded angrily: “You are privatising – don’t you dare lie to me.”

The health secretary told protesters that their concerns were based on a “complete misrepresentation”. He was booed and protesters started chanting “greedy” as he fought his way through the crowd.