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BMA pursues negotiations after postponing decision on industrial action over pensions

The BMA has decided to delay any decision over taking further industrial action over pensions and seek ‘urgent' negotiations with health secretary Andrew Lansley.

In the wake of a disappointing turnout for the day of action last week, BMA Council said it had decided to delay any decision until the next council meeting on 18 July.

In the meantime, newly elected BMA chair, Dr Mark Porter, said he would seek ‘an urgent meeting' with health secretary Andrew Lansley to discuss the dispute.

The move comes after the BMA gave its leadership a strong mandate to continue with industrial action over the Government's pension reforms.

Delegates at the BMA's Annual Representative Meeting called on its leaders to continue with further industrial action and voted to support a motion that said ‘options for further action should include withdrawing from clinical commissioning activity'.

Dr Porter said: ‘It was clear from the debates at our annual meeting today that doctors remain angry at the Government for tearing up a pensions deal reached only four years ago and which made the scheme sustainable for the future.

‘Our preferred option has always been to find a fairer way forward through negotiation and I want to explore that with the secretary of state for health. I will be writing to him to seek an urgent meeting.'

The next council meeting will take place on 18 July where council ‘expects to have fuller information, including detail on how and when negotiations on the next stage of the Government's proposed changes will take place'.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said he would meet with Dr Porter, but there would not be any discussion over pensions

He said: 'I would welcome the opportunity to meet with him to discuss the full range of issues that we can work together on to improve NHS care for patients.
"But any discussion of pensions must take place alongside the other trade unions. We cannot prioritise doctors over all other health workers when they have one of the most generous pension schemes.'

Story updated 29/06/12 13:10