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Separate BMA pensions ballot could see some crafts take action while others do not

The BMA’s upcoming ballot on industrial action over pensions is to be counted separately according to craft, leaving open the possibility that some branches of the profession could opt to take industrial action while others do not.

The association was forced to postpone its pensions roadshows last week before GPs were due to begin hearing options for industrial action, due to the ‘legislative minefield’ surrounding the ballot.

Doctors are due to discuss the issue at this week’s BMA Council meeting on Thursday, where they will be given additional details on the legal ramifications of any possible action.

Ahead of the crunch meeting, a BMA spokesperson told Pulse that the ballot results would be counted separately according to craft, which could ‘in theory’ result in some crafts taking action and others not.

The spokesperson said: ‘We would expect to publish ballot results broken down by branch of practice.’

In January the BMA’s pensions survey found significant differences in the appetite for industrial action among different crafts, with 55% of GPs backing some form of action, compared to 66% of consultants and 72% of junior doctors.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of the BMA’s consultants committee, said it was ‘always possible’ that different crafts could take different action.

‘The fact that more or less everybody is angry and feels victimised about these changes doesn’t automatically mean every group is going to vote identically in the ballot.