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GPs back industrial action over pensions in BMA ballot

Doctors have voted in favour of industrial action in the BMA ballot over pensions, with 84% of those who voted backing proposals for industrial action short of a strike, and 72% backing full strike action.

Overall, 52,250 doctors voted in the ballot, with the BMA announcing that turnout was 50%.

GPs were the least supportive of the major branches of practice, with 79% of the 17,561 who voted supporting industrial action, and 63% in favour of strike action. Turnout among GPs was 53%.

The BMA has ruled out a strike of doctors, but wanted a Yes vote to strengthen its mandate. BMA Council will now consider the results of the ballot, with a announcement due this afternoon on whether it considers the results give a sufficient mandate to call a day of action.

More than 18,000 consultants voted, with 84% supporting industrial action and 73% supporting strike action.

Junior doctors were the most supportive major branch of practice, with 92% in favour of industrial action and 81% in favour of industrial action.

Dr Kailish Chand, a retired GP who has been elected to rejoin BMA Council, said: ‘This shows huge discontent among the profession. I said before the ballot any turnout above 50% and vote above 50% will give a strong mandate. No other (health) trade union got this level of mandate.’

Dean Royles, director of NHS Employers, said: ‘As BMA Council now meet I really want them to put patients at the centre of their decision making. They know any industrial action will impact on care and cause distress and disruption to patients and undermine trust and confidence in the medical profession.

‘Industrial action could potentially mean delays to treatment. It would be particularly distressing for patients and extremely worrying for staff who are dedicated to putting patients first. Its a tough decision for the BMA Council but they should do the right thing for patients.’