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BMA ramps up strike action

The British Medical Association is certainly having a tougher time than it might have expected after announcing individual five-day strikes each month between now and December.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges issued a statement on Thursday night attacking the BMA for what it said was “disproportionate” strike action.

Two colleges, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of Radiologists, have since said they did not support the statement.

A snap poll of public opinion by Sky News found 57 per cent of the public backed the doctors, which is significantly lower than in February when it was at 78 per cent.

After the initial announcement of a five-day full walkout starting on 12 September, the BMA announced further action taking place on:

  • 5, 6 and 7 October and 10-11 of October;
  • 14-18 November; and
  • 5-9 December.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said up to 100,000 operations and 1 million appointments could be postponed by the first week of action, while prime minister Theresa May backed Mr Hunt, describing him as an “excellent health secretary” and accusing the BMA of “playing politics”.

The BMA has called on the government to suspend its contract imposition after members voted against a negotiated deal in May this year.

Tameside’s glimpse of the future

In another significant development in Greater Manchester, Tameside Council’s chief executive has taken over the leadership of Tameside and Glossop CCG, with a view to this being a permanent joint role.

Steven Pleasant said his appointment was “symbolic” of the changes taking place, and builds on the development of a single commissioning board between adult social care and the CCG, including a joint management team.

The changes in Tameside have received significant support from the Greater Manchester devolution team, including NHS England official Jon Rouse, and mirror changes taking place at Manchester City Council.

It perhaps offers a glimpse into how the NHS will look in the future, with local authorities taking a far greater role in the planning and commissioning of health services.