Miliband's GP adviser calls for BMA to strike

Written by Total Politics has a free weekly Friday email bulletin. Follow this link to register. on 13 March 2012 in Diary
Dr Kailash Chand has suggested that the British Medical Association should ballot its members

Dr Kailash Chand, a GP appointed by Ed Miliband to help with a review of the long-term expectations of older people, has suggested that the BMA should be balloting its members over possible industrial action in opposition to the the government's NHS reforms.

Writing in Pulse magazine, Chand argues that the union's willingness to consider strikes over changes to doctors' pensions but not in opposition to the reforms is illogical and a case of 'picking the wrong fight'.

He writes: "Why would the BMA not ballot its members for industrial action to save the NHS? If the union knows we would disrupt our work to protect our finances, it must also show the public that we would be willing to do the same to save the NHS."

Chand has long been an opponent of the coalition's NHS reforms - he was the originator of the 'Drop the Health Bill' petition that attracted over 170,000 signatures.

In response to Chand's suggestion of industrial action, Conservative MP and health select committee member Chris Skidmore said:

"For a Labour adviser to call for NHS strike action that could seriously damage patient care is irresponsible. It also exposes the deeply political and divisive agenda being followed by the Labour Party. Ed Miliband and Andy Burnham need to distance themselves from these views immediately.

"It's incredible that this has happened on the same day GP leaders have come out wanting to work with the government on reforming the NHS. Clearly, Labour are still stuck in their ideological politics of the 1980s - their opposition to modernising the NHS is becoming increasingly desperate."

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