By Ian Quinn
GPs are to debate plans for industrial action in opposition to the Government’s NHS reforms, it has been confirmed today.
A string of motions put forward by different branches of the BMA call for industrial action to be planned, as the agenda of next week’s Special Representative Meeting shows the strength of feeling against key elements of the health bill.
The SRM will also see a vote of no confidence in health secretary Andrew Lansley put forward, it has been confirmed.
A motion by Enfield and Haringey Division says GPs have ‘grave concern’ over the potential for the bill to pave the way for privatisation of the NHS, one of many among the 200-plus motions which focus on the issue of the threat posed by the Government’s plans to ramp up competition.
It claims the setting up of pathfinder consortia is leading to the ‘rundown and closure of dozens of hospitals’ and calls for the BMA to ‘withdraw its policy of “critical engagement” with the bill’s proposals; advise the profession to refuse to take part in GP commissioning consortia and decide on actions to prevent the implementation of the bill, including industrial action.’
A motion by Lewisham Division calls on the BMA to ‘consider industrial action’ to prevent implementation of the bill, while the North Western Regional Council calls on it to support ‘Save the NHS’ marches and rallies in central London.
Islington Division calls for the BMA to poll its membership before the 2011 ARM in the summer, to consider ‘the scope and scale of potential industrial action which might be required to oppose the implementation of the provisions of the Health and Social Care Bill.’
A similar call for a poll on industrial action by the London Regional Council will also be discussed, having been first revealed by Pulse last month following a stormy meeting in which health minister Simon Burns was heckled by BMA members.
BMA’s South West Regional Council proposes a motion calling on the BMA ‘not to rule out endorsing any industrial action on a local or national level in order to protect our national terms and conditions.’
Previously doubts have been raised that the BMA would actively debate calls for industrial action because of the fears over legal repercussions from the Government and a potential backlash from patients.
A number of motions call for a vote of no confidence in the health secretary.
Buckinghamshire division accuses him of reneging ‘on his pre-election promise not to reorganise the NHS management structures’ and claims he has ‘demonstrated that he is unfit to lead the NHS by failure to assess whether GPs have the willingness, capacity or competence to mange £80 billion of the NHS budget.’
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