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BMA rejects vote on industrial action over GP contract

The BMA has rejected a call for doctors’ representatives to vote on industrial action over the recent imposition of the 2013/14 GP contract by the Department of Health in England.

A motion submitted for the BMA’s annual representative meeting (ARM), to be held in Edinburgh later this month, asked for a ballot of BMA members whether to take industrial action to stop the Government’s contract imposition.

Suggested by the London Regional Council and the Enfield and Haringey division, the motion also called for the ballot to include a boycott of CCGs as a means of putting pressure on the Government.

But the BMA has not opted to include industrial action over the GP contract as a topic of debate at the ARM. Instead doctors’ representatives will vote on whether they agree that the meeting ‘deplores’ the recent unilateral imposition and for the GPC to ‘discuss’ with the GP membership of the BMA ‘the basis on which future negotiations will take place’.

A BMA spokesperson said of the motion scheduled for debate: ‘That is the composite motion that drawns together everything else. It will be proposed by the Cambridge, Huntingdon and Ely Division but of course anybody from London can also get up and speak.’

Other issues that are up for debate in the general practice session, scheduled for the afternoon on Wednesday 26 June, include general practice funding, locum superannuations and GP education and training.

The rejected motion:

This meeting notes that the Government is imposing a new contract on GPs for 2013-2014 which will result in an increase in workload and reduced funding. We see this as a provocative move to hasten the rundown and closure of smaller GP general practices and bring about their amalgamation into large commercial multi -practices. We call on BMA and GPC to:

  • ballot for industrial action to stop the imposition of the 2013-2014 contract changes;
  • include the option of a boycott of CCGs on the ballot paper.

Source: BMA

Readers' comments (13)

  • It is like BMA not to allow the motion to discuss " ballot for industrial action to stop imposition of the 2013-2014 contract changes and boycott of CCGs.I am disappointed that our trade union continuously fails the profession when members want a strong action and to fight the unjust impositions by the successive Governments.it is a shame that BMA does not want to give a chance to discuss the motion to assess the support or opposition to this motion.

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  • any alternatives to the BMA?

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  • the worlds most ineffectual "trade union" strikes again (or rather doesnt)

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  • Following on from the pensions fiasco It was the right decision.It just feeds the public's prejudice about GPs.The only weapon of war we have is to seriously consider withdrawing from the NHS.

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  • The BMA is completely spineless and a waste of time. After 28 years as a GP I'm taking early retirement this year and will be cancelling my BMA membership.

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  • i canceled my membership when the bma did nothing about our pensions. Money saved to spend on the more pleasant things in life. I wouldn't trust the BMA with anything, they are a toothless body with no power and are continuously rail roaded and out maneuvered by the government.

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  • I also cancelled my BMA membership in the wake of the pensions, QOF, CQC, etc, etc, etc...

    GPs will vote with their feet - ie early retirement, migration and not choosing general practice in the first place!

    When there is a massive recruitment and workforce crisis (brewing now) this may force the government to go back to the negotiating table.

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  • Any strike would be fraught with so many medico-legal risks that it simply wouldn't be safe if done properly and wouldn't be worthwhile if watered down.

    As others have said our only real option is to withdraw our services completely from the NHS and renegotiate outside the NHS cost envelope.

    The pension is hardly worthwhile for partners who are paying up to 35% of their income for greatly reduced benefits.

    The Government would be forced to be honest with the British public about what this country can afford in terms of free care. As GPs we may actually be able to practise decent medicine at a market rate that reflects the complexity, hours and stress of the job.

    Annual negotiations by the BMA on a "contract" that can be altered by one side (i.e the Government) at will are a waste of time. In fact the BMA was pretty naive in advising us all that contract impositions as specified in the 2004 agreement would be a rare occurrence!!

    Personally, I don't think we should negotiate on another "contract" as the terms will be reduced as soon as we have signed up to it and the DOH will claim it has GPs support.

    If another contract re-write is imposed so soon after the last one then that is clear signal for us to act. The public will never be on our side over our working conditions so I don't think that should any longer be a basis for our decisions. The DOH will not be able to claim that GPs walked away from an impending agreement and it would be up to us to take the final step and withdraw en masse from the NHS.

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  • I've always felt grateful that I was trained by the NHS and that I would return that by working for the NHS, helping train and shape the future of the NHS as a fair universal health service for all. I had not expected to become its ruination in the eyes of the media and public. By walking away and not unititing with my collegues and the BMA we will fail it and be the masters of our own fall, just what the government want. If we cannot negotiate a safe, sustainable and appropriately rewarded way of providing primary health care with HMG then we have to be honest with ourselves and the patients and stop.
    The BMA are wrong to rule out industrial action as it's not the money, it's safety and sustainability that are the key elements. I'm not burnt out due to my income being effectively eroded year in year, it's the workload, intensity, hours and complexity. Added to that the constant attacks that we are deficient and need to tick more boxes and be inspected all the time. Someone must define (and soon) what is safe and sustainable and tell the government that is what will be delivered and no more. (And we must root out those few GPs that are not delivering and having us all tarred and feathered.)

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  • must be the first trade union whom actively work against its members. Ended my membership as an SHO in 2006 and never regretted it for a moment

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