Bma Will Discuss Strike Action!

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The British Medical Association will put ‘absolutely everything’ on the table including strike action when members determine their response to the government’s NHS Health and Social Care Bill at a BMA Special Representative Meeting (SRM) next month, Dr. Steve Hajioff has said.

In an interview with Pulse magazine published yesterday, Dr Hajioff, who will chair the meeting as head of the BMA’s Representative Body, said: ‘Absolutely everything about our response and the way we engage could change, with the Bill as a whole and sub-sections.

‘We’ll know what members think about competitive tendering, for example, and what they require us to do.

‘That could vary from welcoming something, to doing nothing, to organising a strike ballot.

‘The last is unlikely, but it is possible.’

A BMA spokesperson said: ‘The BMA Representative Body – made up of doctors and medical students from across the UK – is meeting on March 15.

‘It is likely to debate a range of possible activities that the BMA could pursue in relation to the Health and Social Care Bill.

‘So far there has been no indication one way or another whether they will want to consider any form of collective action, which would never be an option that the BMA took lightly, whatever the circumstances.’

His comments come as health unions yesterday angrily condemned plans by Barts and The London NHS Trust to cut 635 posts to save £56m over two years, including 250 nursing jobs and to lose 100 beds.

Speaking in a personal capacity, BMA Council member Anna Athow told News Line: ‘Similar plans are going on all over London, including Chase Farm, Enfield and King George, Ilford.

‘The Health Bill aims to accelerate the plans of the last government to physically close and destroy hospitals and make their staff redundant on a massive scale, in order to privatise it.

‘The unions should no longer criticise from the sidelines but recall their membership in special conferences and discuss how to mobilise to defend every single hospital and NHS unit, and make sure this Health Bill cannot be implemented.

‘The recalled Special Representative Meeting of the BMA on March 15 should discuss all options in this campaign.

‘Hospitals must be occupied by local staff and campaigners in Councils of Action to stop them closing.’