Doctors reject pension changes

Doctor injecting patientDoctors have rejected the Government's planned pension changes and two out of three would be prepared to take industrial action over the issue, it has been announced.

A survey of members of the British Medical Association showed an "overwhelming" vote against the controversial reforms, dealing a blow to Government hopes of an end to the bitter dispute.
Around 46,000 doctors took part in a survey - a response rate of 36% - with over four in five saying the proposals should be rejected.

Almost two thirds said they would be prepared to take industrial action to pursue changes to the proposals.

More than a third of doctors over the age of 50 said they intend to retire early if the changes go ahead as planned.

The BMA has formally written to the Government rejecting the "final" offer and urging ministers to meet unions to agree "fairer" changes.

The association said it will work up detailed plans on taking industrial action, adding that all attempts will be made to ensure that any action would minimise any risk of harm to patients.

An emergency meeting of BMA Council will be held on February 25 to decide on the options for balloting on industrial action, unless there is a "significant" change in the Government's position.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of BMA Council, said: "The strength and scale of feeling among doctors is abundantly clear - they feel let down and betrayed, and for many this is the final straw."

The BMA has not taken industrial action since the 1970s when there was a dispute over junior doctors' working conditions, including hours.
© 2012 Press Association

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