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GPs face uncertainty as managers consider retrospective sanctions for taking industrial action

Exclusive: Hundreds of GPs still face the prospect of contractual sanctions being taken against them after taking industrial action over pensions, as NHS managers consider retrospectively taking punitive measures against practices.

Pulse has learnt that NHS North Central London and NHS South West London PCT clusters are still considering taking punitive measures over two weeks after the industrial action took place.

All PCTs in London wrote to the capital's 6,000 GPs prior to the BMA's day of action on the 21 June to warn them that they may face a breach of contract notice or withheld pay if they opted to take part.

When approached by Pulse, NHS North West London, NHS East London and City and NHS South East London PCT clusters ruled out taking any action against GPs, but the two remaining PCT clusters in London said they are still considering whether to take action against practices.

The threat of action comes at a difficult time for the BMA, as they consider whether any further action at a council meeting on the 18 July. Pulse revealed last week that two doctors could face being investigated by the GMC after taking part in the day of action.

A spokesperson for NHS South West London PCT cluster said: ‘No action has yet been taken.'

‘NHS South West London wrote to all GPs prior to the day of action advising them that we may issue a breach notice or withhold remuneration if they took part in the BMA day of industrial action. We are still considering this option.'

NHS North Central London also confirmed they were considering taking action against practices who took industrial action.

Dr Tony Grewal, vice chair of Hillingdon LMC, said his LMC would challenge any punitive measures against GPs who took industrial action.

He said: ‘Any punitive action they do decide to take will be strongly challenged by the LMC and the GPC.'

‘GPs were in their right to make alternative service provisions for patients on the day and the LMC will strongly support any GP practice that does face any action.'

Dr Hamed Khan, a GP in Croydon and chair of the London Deanery GP Training Committee, said it would be 'deeply unfortunate' if any PCT resorted to threats or punitive measures.

He said: 'This will only make the profession, as a whole, more fragmented and disjointed at a time when cohesion is absolutely vital, due to the various recent overhauls affecting primary care.'

A BMA spokesperson said they were not aware of any problems with GPs being penalised by primary care organisations, but that they should contact the BMA if they do.

He said: ‘We'd obviously encourage BMA members to let us know if they do face this kind of action.'