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BMA plans for GP industrial action in November

BMA plans for GP industrial action in November

The BMA has set out ‘an approximate timeline’ for GP industrial action, with announcements planned for October and ‘collective action’ to start in late November or early December.

England GP committee chair Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer set out the timeline to show the steps planned for the coming months and ‘to enable GPs to see the context’ in which the referendum on the contract is taking place later this week.

Despite the contract being imposed, with NHS England saying it is final and will now be implemented, the GPCE will go ahead with a referendum on the contract changes 7-27 March.

The timeline, which ‘may be subject to change’ depending on the referendum result, plans for ‘potential GP industrial action across England’ to be announced in October and to commence ‘alongside the likely announcement of a late November/early December general election’ when the UK enters a period of pre-election sensitivity.

The collective action depends on the referendum outcome and on the GPCE requesting permission in July from BMA UK Council to approve options for prospective industrial action.

The timeline also said that in July the GPCE will ‘meet face to face to deliberate strategic timeline and plan for Autumn action’.

An industrial action ballot is also planned for early September ‘if required’, and ‘to coincide with political party conferences’.

In November, there will likely be general election campaigns ‘with ongoing GP collective action likely coming up as a doorstep issue’, with more collective action planned for December when the election is likely to take place.

The timeline in full


  • Contract 2024/25 published.
  • 7 – 27 March: referendum voting open.
  • Webinars through the three-week referendum window (dates TBC).
  • 28 March: GPCE to determine next steps with referendum outcome.
  • Period of pre-election sensitivity “purdah” from 16 March comes into effect limiting announcements by arms of government ahead of the local elections in May.


  • Imposed Contract comes into effect.
  • 24/25 Contract guidance due to be produced for England LMCs and practices by GPCE.
  • GPCE vision to be compiled with support from the policy groups.


  • 2 May: local council elections 2 May.
  • 16 May: Vision document to be published at GPCE meeting.
  • 24-25 May: UK Conference LMCs with GPCE/LMC roadshow dates announced for the 10 England regions.


  • Political party manifestos likely to be published.
  • GPCE/LMC roadshows across the 10 England regions commence (dates TBC).
  • BMA to undertake focus groups on GP industrial action with public and profession to complement the roadshows in England.
  • 24-25 June: BMA Annual Representative Meeting.


  • GPCE request permission from BMA UK Council to approve option for prospective IA. GPCE will meet face to face to deliberate strategic timeline and plan for Autumn action (if required).
  • Doctors and Dentists Remuneration Board (DDRB).


  • Allow time for negotiations in light of DDRB discussions to prepare communications tools and resources for use in September.


  • BMA membership push from the very start of the month, with a view to open the IA ballot by early September (if required) to coincide with political party conferences.


  • Potential GP IA across England announced and enacted timed to commence alongside likely announcement of a late November/early December general election when UK enters period of pre-election sensitivity “purdah”. This period effectively silences the Department of Health and Social Care/NHS England Mandate expected for the for 2025/26 Contract negotiations.


  • US Presidential elections.
  • UK general election campaigns with ongoing GP collective action likely coming up as a doorstep issue.


  • Likely general election.
  • Ongoing GP collective action.


  • 31 January: final date for a GE under current legislation.
  • Likely negotiations begin with new Government and new Health Secretary and Ministers. Whatever the shape of that new Government, the GPCE team will require a mandate and evidence of collective action to meet to negotiate the most favourable and successful outcome.

Source: BMA document published by Londonwide LMCs

Previously Dr Bramall-Stainer told Pulse that the outcomes of the referendum ‘may lead’ to the GPC considering an indicative strike ballot for GPs in the spring and a formal ballot after April, and that the process could go into later this year, around the time of the general election.

According to a letter seen by Pulse, the GPC is preparing for industrial action with GPC deputy chair Dr Julius Parker saying it ‘is clear’ improvements to the Government’s offer demanded by the committee may not happen, in which case the current contract offer would be imposed for the third year in a row.

Last week, Dr Bramall-Stainer warned that the latest GP contract imposition forms part of an intentional ‘ideological dismantling’ of NHS general practice.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Not on your Nelly 5 March, 2024 7:28 pm

What does industrial Acton look like. If it the same as the one when pensions were decimated in 2008, may as well not bother. Nothing less than complete shut down or withdrawal of services for weeks on end is acceptable. Do a junior doctor and mean it, or don’t bother

John Graham Munro 5 March, 2024 7:29 pm

The Hippocratic Oath is the stick with which the Government beats us

Robert James Andrew Mackenzie Koefman 5 March, 2024 7:38 pm

November will be too little too late for many practices financially I suspect we know what the contract is already

David Church 5 March, 2024 8:19 pm

At first glance, November may seem a long way away, but there are a number of positives to the timing, which I will not mention outright in case government is not aware of them.
Anyway, note that the DDRB in July is not this year’s award, but next year (2025-2026).

Dave Haddock 5 March, 2024 9:13 pm

This is going to be amusing to watch. Reminiscent of Downfall, Der Untergang, with the deranged leader in a bunker ordering non-existent armies around.

Out of here And happy 5 March, 2024 9:23 pm

Really though ….

Out of here And happy 5 March, 2024 9:25 pm

Sorry meant, really though, are we as militant as the junior docs , or even as the consultants.
No , thought not , so 2% and be grateful.
The govt know any concerted action is a busted flush already

john mackay 5 March, 2024 10:54 pm

Contract starts in April, why are we waiting until Novem

So the bird flew away 5 March, 2024 11:17 pm

Wasn’t the BMA supposed to keep this cunning plan secret? HMG must be quaking in their boots at the speed of this action. Looks like a stitch up.

Mark Howson 6 March, 2024 1:53 pm

Since we are self employed we will essentially be putting ourselves in breach of contract but we do have a legal right to withdraw labour. So once in breach we can still honour the Hippocratic oath by remaining open but only offering private services while on strike. If it goes pear shaped then just continue the private option. Looks to me with all the adverts for private GP services that we are fast heading the way of the dentists. I fully support the principle of a well funded NHS but sometimes extreme measures are needed to force change.

Bonglim Bong 6 March, 2024 6:08 pm

It just takes some innovative planning for IA. (Although I’m not sure about the legalities of organising it).
In Japan striking bus drivers (for a private company) still drove the buses but didn’t collect fares.

We need to think about the same for GPs. Something which doesn’t breech contract. Doesn’t harm patients. Costs a lot of money. Examples might be:
– happily issue paracetamol and emollients on FP10 (when required to treat medical problems)
– Start prescribing medications on an FP10 which are restricted purely based on price (if you are clinically comfortable prescribing them). For example weight loss drugs do not require a tier 3 obesity clinic (they do require ongoing support which can be achieved from a tier 2 service). The newest medications for migraines are excellent, but are expensive – we can offer them first line.
– Or just start prescribing drugs by original brand, like Lipitor, plavix etc. A few 224 prescriptions of branded Panadol per GP would go a long way.

James Weems 6 March, 2024 7:19 pm

I like your style Mr Bong

North London GP 6 March, 2024 8:31 pm

We’ve been here before with the threat of industrial action. The consultant with drew labour for waiting list and outpatients initiatives which was very effective.
I think the most effective action would be to properly cost up a private service away from the NHS. To have a plan B (and mean it) would leave no wriggle for any government. There simply aren’t the staff to run primary care without GPs. We need to be brave and bold to create a brighter future.

Richard Greenway 8 March, 2024 7:43 pm

We need action well before November in my view. I suggets dates co-inciding with JDs action to give maximum coverage.
By November a whole lot of practices will have closed IMO. Action needs to be eye catching and escalating. Our belated action already makes us look fairly weak. Remember the consultants have just negotiated a decent award, and are earning more than us in the main -so don’t undervalue GP.

Dave Haddock 11 March, 2024 1:23 pm

Remind us, just how is that Junior Doctor’s strike going?
Leaving people to die on waiting lists has been a success?