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Official figures show only 10% GPs took pensions action

Only one in 10 GPs in England took industrial action over their pensions, say official Government figures published for the first time since the day of action on the 21 June.

A previously unpublished internal DH briefing note reveals only 11.2% of GPs across England participated in the BMA industrial action over pensions and 10.8% of consultants.

The figures – published after a request from Pulse under the Freedom of Information Act – show official figures from all of England’s SHA clusters.

GPs still counted for 35.2% of all the 11,494 doctors who took industrial action on the day.

The lowest participation rate was seen among junior doctors, of which only 3.9% took part, and public health and community doctors, of which 2.3% took part.

The DH briefing note concluded that industrial action in England had a ‘moderate impact’ on patient services, mitigated by continuity planning in anticipation of the strike.

The briefing note said: ‘Today’s action by doctors is causing significant inconvenience to patients where their non-urgent operations or outpatient appointments have had to be rescheduled at relatively short notice.

‘Although the BMA estimates around one-third of GP practices affected in some way by the strike, the reality is that only around 25% of practices are providing an “urgent only” service.’

A BMA spokesperson downplayed the figures, saying: ‘It wasn’t a case of all doctors walking away from their practices so it was always going to be difficult both for the Government and the BMA to accurately assess numbers.’