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‘We have a lot of sympathy for the BMA’: Diane Abbott interview

Earlier this week Labour shadow health minister Diane Abbott told Pulse reporter Jaimie Kaffash she backed the proposed industrial action by GPs over the Government's pension reforms, so long as measures are taken to prevent it damaging patient care.

Here is a transcript of the interview:

Will there be support for the BMA?

The Labour Party wouldn't support any action that would harm patients. But we have a lot of sympathy for the BMA because the Government has lost the confidence of professionals – generally about their reforms, but also about their pensions.

But doctors get significantly better pensions than other public sector workers. Will there still be support for them?

I think there will be. The public knows that when it comes to the health service, they trust health professionals more than they trust Government ministers.

So doctors will retain the trust of the public, even though they are earning good salaries?

Yes, I think they will.

Would the Labour Party be in favour of industrial action that wouldn't harm patient safety, which the BMA has confirmed?

Yes, as long as they are not compromising patient safety, clearly the BMA has a right to take industrial action.

How much of a mandate will be needed? Will 20% turnout be enough of a mandate?

So long as it's a legal ballot, they've got a mandate.