NHS pension strike—we are preparing to make a stand

We are planning to take industrial action at our GP surgery. We’re unanimous about the blatant inequity being thrust down our throats by Mr Lansley and the anger we feel is palpable. We weren’t completely in agreement about what we’d be prepared to do about it—but when the date was announced, we realised that the two doctors who were less sure about what they wanted to do would be absent anyway on 21st June—and as long as we kept our patients safe, they didn’t stand in the way of the rest of the team taking action. In fact deep down they know it’s the right thing to do. On the day it has to be all for one and one for all—and so it will be.

I realise that part of my fury over NHS pensions is the flip side of the depression I feel about what’s happening to the NHS generally. I’ve never before had the misfortune of working for an “organisation” that I don’t truly believe in. So we’re preparing to make a stand, undaunted by Mr Lansley’s despicable mis-representation of what he’s doing to our pensions in the media and by the rather heavy-handed letter we received on Tuesday from our Primary Care Trust threatening us with the mixed message of “taking industrial action is legal but you may receive a letter stating you are in Breach of Contract.”

Interestingly the patients who’ve mentioned the subject have been remarkably supportive. I’d like to think that’s because they know what a good service we provide and appreciate that the access we give them is second to none. They say they also believe in equity. So we’re all set up to provide emergency and urgent care and I’ll be triaging all the calls that come in for telephone advice and urgent appointments from 8am to 6.30pm on 21 June—just as I always do on Thursdays. Our nurses will be providing emergency appointments too and will be providing the usual anticoagulation service and baby immunisation clinic on the day. Most patients won’t even notice anything’s different I suspect, but we will know that we’ve stood up to be counted, have kept our patients safe and retained our professionalism throughout.