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Only four years ago, NHS staff agreed major changes to their pension scheme to make it sustainable for the future. This involved a big hike in contributions, and the introduction of tiered contributions to protect lower paid workers. It also meant an increase in pension age for new entrants, and staff – not taxpayers – taking on sole responsibility for any further increases needed to cover increases in costs. The government now wants to go back on a deal negotiated in good faith.
The BMA made the decision to take industrial action reluctantly, after attempting to bring the government back to negotiations, and after a clear majority of doctors voted in favour of industrial action on a high turnout of 50%.
Patient safety will be our absolute priority – all emergency care, or other care that patients urgently needed, will be provided and doctors will be in their usual places of work.