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Support growing for industrial action, survey shows

GPs appear to be hardening in their support for industrial action, although not all of those who vote for it will join the proposed day of action themselves, a Pulse survey reveals.

Some 63% of GPs said they would vote Yes to industrial action short of a full strike, compared with 56% who were in favour when it was first announced in April. But only 58% of nearly 250 respondents said they would personally join the BMA's proposed day of action, reflecting concerns among many GP partners in particular over workload and contractual issues.

The survey also found most GPs back full strike action, which the BMA has ruled out, but wants support for to strengthen its mandate for other industrial action. Some 56% of GPs supported strike action, but 36% said they would vote against.

Almost half of the GPs surveyed said they felt the BMA had not gone far enough in its opposition to the reforms. Just over a third – 35% – said the BMA's stance was right, while 16% said it had gone too far. This mirrors the findings from the April survey. A small minority of GPs – 12% – said the ballot was causing tensions with colleagues at their practice, with 29% unsure.

Dr Peter Swinyard, chair of the Family Doctor Association, said he supported industrial action: ‘You cannot just leave the issue. It may mean doctors are forced to work beyond the age it is safe to do so.'

But Dr Paul Zollinger-Read, a GP in Braintree, Essex, said: ‘All of Europe is bankrupt. Our country is bankrupt. There needs to be some degree of pensions reform.'


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