UK doctors threaten pension strike

Doctors’ leaders escalated their dispute with the Government over planned changes to their pensions yesterday after a British Medical Association survey showed almost two out of three would back some form of industrial action.

But the BMA council declined to order an immediate ballot of its 130,000 members until an emergency meeting on February 25.

Instead, it settled for a formal letter to the Government rejecting its latest offer and demanding the re-opening of negotiations. It said it would “work up detailed plans on taking industrial action”.

Last month, the BMA accepted the Government had made its “final” offer and talks had gone “as far as they can”.

The announcement came as the Royal College of Nursing declared it was moving to oppose the Health and Social Care Bill, citing concerns about privatisation and staffing levels, and the BMA’s head warned of rising waiting lists and “impossible” efficiency savings, in an interview in the New Statesman.