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BMA may not launch formal GP ballot on industrial action

BMA may not launch formal GP ballot on industrial action

Exclusive The BMA has not yet decided whether it will launch a formal ballot of GPs on industrial action, Pulse has learned.

In an email bulletin sent to GPs in October, announcing the upcoming launch of its indicative ballot, the BMA set out that it was also preparing for a formal ballot of GP members on industrial action.

It said that ‘for legal reasons’ this could not take place sooner than six weeks after the emergency GPC meeting where balloting the profession was decided.

The meeting took place eight weeks ago today, on 21 October.

But when questioned by Pulse about whether a formal ballot will still go ahead and when, a BMA spokesperson said that the BMA does not recognise the timescales from its bulletin.

They added: ‘The BMA made clear when the results were published that we would be discussing them with GPC and the wider profession before determining next steps. This remains the case.’

The October bulletin said: ‘The BMA is also preparing for a formal ballot of members on IA (industrial action), which, for legal reasons could not have happened sooner than at least six weeks after the emergency meeting last week.

‘Moving to an indicative ballot of practices before a formal ballot of members on IA also means we not only get to gather the views of practices on the proposed forms of actions much more swiftly, but it also means we can keep the pressure up nationally by using the result as further leverage in the interim.’

The BMA revealed last month that its indicative ballot showed over half of GP practices are willing to opt out of the PCN DES as part of a range of protest measures concerning the Government’s GP access fund.

It revealed:

  • 58% of respondents said they would support withdrawal from the PCN DES at the next opt-out period
  • 39% said they would be willing to disengage from the PCN DES before then
  • 84% said they would welcome non-compliance with Covid exemption certificates 
  • 80% said they would change the way they report appointment data

Announcing the result, BMA GPC England chair Dr Farah Jameel said the response rate of 35% achieved ‘in such a short space of time speaks volumes about the strength of feeling across the profession’.

The BMA GP committee had learned of the ballot results a week before they were announced but delayed releasing them while mulling over next steps in private.

It said at the time it would analyse the results ‘in detail before deciding on the next steps, which we will communicate to all members in due course’.


Andrew Jackson 16 December, 2021 9:59 am

I don’t envy our new chair and undoubtedly primary care will step up (again) to save the booster program at the expense of the rest many of us need over the holiday break
something significant must then change re workload otherwise it will be a Dr exodus wave that will hit the country as well as omicron

Reply moderated
Turn out The Lights 16 December, 2021 12:48 pm

A lot of Us that would be for it are not members anymore so would we get a vote without paying subs I doubt it very much.More of the same while Rome burns.Nothing to see.

Patrufini Duffy 16 December, 2021 4:38 pm

Not even balotting a kidney is useful.

David Bush 17 December, 2021 8:10 am

I think that the most appropriate ‘industrial action’ would be for the profession to ignore the Government edict to ‘stop all routine work and just jab’ and actually carry on opening their surgeries and providing as close as possible to normal care. That way the public can see that we are on their side, and care, and we simultaneously say to the Govt – ‘if you try to micromanage (mismanage) us we’re not going to listen’.

Rogue 1 17 December, 2021 9:03 am

BMA = perpetual procrastinators
I’m surprised anyone can be still be bothered being a member

Prof Plums 17 December, 2021 11:47 am

Rogue 1: I have just terminated my membership for this reason. I do not mind what the outcome of any ballot is, but I do care that the voices of grass roots GP’s are not listened to or valued by their union. I work at the coal face and in management, without the connection there is little value in any output. This is very much a lost opportunity for primary care to make a meaningful improvement t its own sustainability: patient harm could easily follow.

Kevlar Cardie 17 December, 2021 1:46 pm

Gotta gettalong to getta gong.

Patrufini Duffy 17 December, 2021 10:39 pm

To those of you debiting £544.00 of RCGP membership fees to your colleagues, nicely eating cream crackers and sipping pinot grigio – for 30 years you’ll dispel almost £16,320 into the ether. The numbers are astronomical, for not even a canapé or free coffee or 1 night stay in a wellbeing suite in Euston London. American doctors would laugh at your lack of respect and tomfoolery.