NO BALLOT ON INDUSTRIAL ACTION – BMA leaders decide

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Junior doctors on strike against the government’s attack on the NHS
Junior doctors on strike against the government’s attack on the NHS

THE GENERAL Practitioners Committee has abandoned balloting GPs for industrial action despite being mandated by their own conference to do so.

A motion at the Local Medical Committees (LMCs) Conference in May said that the GPC must ballot for industrial action over the increasing workload of GPs.

The motion was moved by Dr Jackie Applebee, chair of Tower Hamlets LMC.

Motion S-20 called on the BMA ‘to ballot the profession on their willingness to take industrial action’ and was carried overwhelmingly.

The GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul claimed yesterday that ‘legal advice and feedback from GPs’ contributed towards it dropping plans to ballot the profession on industrial action.

He said: ‘We have had considerable dialogue with the NHS both in terms of implementing the GP Forward View and the Urgent Prescription for General Practice, which is our priority.’

GPC announced on Monday that it will not be going ahead with a ballot, after NHS England agreed to negotiate on the recommendations in the ‘Urgent Prescription’.

Dr Jackie Applebee, chair of Tower Hamlets LMC, who proposed the motion in May, said yesterday: ‘I am concerned about the decision not to ballot. There was an overwhelming vote in favour of this at LMC conference. General practice is in crisis and this is widely acknowledged throughout the profession and the grassroots have by this vote showed the strength of feeling.’

BMA member Anna Athow said: ‘This calling off of a ballot on industrial action by the GPC, is another sell – out by the BMA leadership. NHS general practice is being closed down through cuts. On average one GP surgery closes every ten days due to impossible workloads.

‘The LMC conference voted overwhelmingly for a ballot of industrial action to save general practice. On a paltry excuse that NHS England has agreed to alleviate these unsustainable pressures, GPC is calling off the ballot for industrial action.

‘It is simply carrying out a survey on doctors’ views on negotiations with the government in September. But LMC representatives gave the GPC the most resounding mandate to carry out the ballot. The BMA leadership has shown once again, as it did in relation to recommending a rotten contract to its junior doctor members, that it is not interested in fighting for its members and in defence of the NHS.

‘An urgent recall LMC special conference is required to reverse this decision. The need of the hour is to build a new leadership in BMA which will mobilise the entire membership, GPs junior doctors and consultants, to throw out the government’s proposals for the Five Year Forward View, which is a blueprint for cuts and privatisation, and tearing up all the current contracts.

‘Such a leadership would call on the TUC and the whole trade union movement to take industrial action with the doctors to defend the NHS.’