I experienced a fleeting moment of optimism over the BMA’s ballot of Scottish hospital doctors on the NHS pension changes, when the results were announced earlier today.
Just under half of the 45% turnout are in favour of real strike action and 67% of the same group are willing to try something else.
I felt that for once we – the medical profession – had not succumbed to the apathy of which we are routinely criticised. This time we were standing up for ourselves, making some noise, flexing our collective muscle.
But it was short lived as BMA Council then decided there was not enough support to action the strike and well … do anything else other than some more talking.
I am disappointed on many fronts. I am disappointed that this bunch of us ‘in our prime’ (to quote Miss Jean Brodie) did not feel sufficiently motivated either to vote or to stick up for their pension.
More than 45% moaned about it, but the other 55% may as well have rolled over and said: “Here, take my money, I’ll work until I’m 102”. I can’t really expect those over 50 years of age to care and the small turn out (29%) of juniors reflects the minority who have considered their future enough to be concerned about their pension right now.
I am disappointed in the BMA. Why is no alternative action, short of a strike, being proposed yet? Coffee rooms across the country are full of good ideas to grind the NHS to a halt without affecting the patients.
Surely the BMA could have thought of one? I’m disappointed in Dr Keighley’s promise to “continue to lobby and campaign against the unfairness of these pension changes”. Perhaps he believes it’s been effective so date. If at first you don’t succeed … (add you own words depending on you mood) – but, personally, I’d like to try something different.
Words are easy, but following it up with meaningful action is clearly not.
Perhaps I’m just easily disappointed. I’m sure the Scottish government are not the least bit disappointed by the perception of doctors’ “damaged trust”.
Sometimes, to be effective you need a short sharp shock of something unpleasant (see my previous post) but once again we have missed an opportunity to influence change.