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BMA plans for pensions industrial action an ‘own goal’, says Swinyard

The chair of the Family Doctor Association and one of the leading opponents to the Government’s pensions reforms will not be taking part in industrial action on 21 June, as he believes the action is a ‘spectacular own goal’.

Dr Peter Swinyard, a GP in Swindon, who has been a vociferous opponent against the pensions changes, said he felt the BMA’s day of action was ‘misdirected at patients’.

He said the BMA’s action would have been better focussed on disengaging from commissioning and hospital administrative tasks to try and force the Government back to the negotiating table.

Dr Swinyard’s decision comes after Pulse revealed the BMA’s decision to call a day of industrial action has split the profession, with a third of practices indicating they will not cancel routine appointments and even BMA Council members yet to confirm if their practice will take part

Dr Swinyard said he was not cancelling pre-booked appointments on 21 June, and would still be seeing patients on the day, although he would not be scheduling any more pre-booked appointments.

He told Pulse that although he voted ‘yes yes’ to action, he had done so with a heavy heart, as he believed that ‘It’s the right fight against the wrong people’.

‘I voted in favour because we need to have a united profession saying the Government cannot behave in this thoroughly dishonourable fashion,’ he said.

‘But to take industrial action which could in anyway damage patient care is not necessary. We could take industrial action which could really upset the Government and mess up their plans without actually doing this silly, “well we’re not quite seeing you but we’re still there”, game.’

He added: ‘Quite simply we should look at what the Government wants to achieve. I would have said to GPs, just withdraw completely from any activity related to commissioning until the Government comes back to the negotiating table.

‘The BMA Council just got it wrong. It is a spectacular own goal. We’re giving the Government every opportunity to spin against doctors.’