Doctors’ leaders have ruled out industrial action “at this point” in the bitter dispute over public sector pensions despite voicing support for the TUC’s day of action in November.

The British Medical Association Council said it was “not appropriate” to ballot its members, but added that it was not ruling out industrial action of some kind in the future.

The announcement came ahead of crucial talks tomorrow between union leaders and the government in a bid to avert widespread strikes later in the year over controversial plans to increase pension contributions for millions of workers.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the BMA Council, said: “We share the intense anger of all NHS staff about the way in which the Government is attempting to bring about wide-ranging changes to our pensions without genuine negotiation.

“Doctors and other NHS staff will be expected to work longer, pay higher monthly contributions, and yet receive a considerably lower pension, and all this is despite a complete overhaul of the NHS pension scheme in 2008 which protects the taxpayer from future cost increases and leaves the scheme delivering a surplus to the Treasury.

“We are continuing to make sure our members understand what the complex changes will mean for their pensions and ensure their views are fed back to government.

“We are certainly not ruling out industrial action of some kind in the future but, for doctors especially, it will always be a last resort in order to protect their patients.

“In the meantime, we will be looking at ways to encourage and guide our members in showing their strength of feeling about the unfairness of public sector pension changes on the day of action.”