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Third of GP practices taking industrial action, BMA claims

A third of GP practices are taking some form of industrial action today as part of a national protest against the Government's pension reforms, the BMA has claimed.

A BMA spokesperson said the figure included a mixture of surgeries fully participating in the industrial action and practices where some GPs are refusing to carry out routine appointments but others are working as normal.

The Department of Health is currently collating numbers from Strategic Health Authorities across the country and expects to release its own figures later today.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, GPC negotiator and a GP in Stanmore, north London, told Pulse the action was 'running smoothly'.

He said: 'Paradoxically, there is greater capacity for access for same-day urgent patients. We're seeing the number of patients we would have expected. Patients are well aware of the message we are trying to get across.'

In Newcastle, Dr George Rae, who is running for chairman of BMA council, said 25% of surgeries in North of Tyne were taking action. However many of those not taking action were still supportive of the BMA's stance and were explaining the issue to patients,' he added.

'One surgery phoned me earlier this week to say they were split 50/50 on whether to take action,' he said. ‘They decided to do appointments as usual but will explain the pensions issue to patients.'

Dr Georgina Brown, vice-chair of the Glasgow LMC and a GP in Glasgow, said patients had been very supportive of the action taking place at her surgery.

She added that numbers of urgent cases were lower than normal: 'Patients are not cheating the system. Most have said they will phone back the following day. A handful said it was urgent, but we helped them over the phone, as we would on any other day.'