The BMA will not consider boycotting the Care Quality Commission or withdrawing from commissioning work in order to force the Government’s hand on pensions, as it claims such moves would be ‘counterproductive’.
Some GPs have suggested that withdrawing support for key Government policies could push the Government into agreeing concessions on its proposed pension reforms.
But in a webchat with doctors yesterday ahead of the BMA’s ballot of the profession on proposed industrial action next month, BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum ruled out such moves.
When asked whether the BMA was ‘considering boycotting the CCGs or CQC as part of the protest against pensions’, Dr Meldrum replied: ‘No, we believe this would be counterproductive.’
Under the BMA’s plans for industrial action, GPs would turn up for work but postpone all routine appointments, and only see patients who consider themselves to be in need of urgent attention that day.
Dr Meldrum acknowledged the BMA’s plans would have an impact on GPs workload after the day of action, but said although the BMA had considered balloting doctors on ‘working rigidly to our contracts’, this had been dismissed as ineffective.
He said: ‘The purpose of the action is to have impact while protecting patient safety. We think our proposed action is best placed to achieve this – unfortunately this will of course have an impact for members taking the action.’
‘Council has looked at lots of options including “working rigidly to our contracts” and felt that this would not have sufficient impact.’
Dr Meldrum also warned doctors to be braced for the negative headlines from sections of the press if they decided to take action.
He said: ‘Doctors do need to be realistic about public perceptions of the pension dispute. We are doing all we can to explain why these changes are unfair and unnecessary but in the current economic climate this is particularly challenging.’