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BMA sets out timeline for GP industrial action in November

BMA sets out timeline for GP industrial action in November
By Anna Colivicchi
6 March 2024

The BMA has set out ‘an approximate timeline’ for GP industrial action, with announcements planned for October and ‘collective action’ to start in late November or early December.

England GP committee chair Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer set out the timeline to show the steps planned for the coming months and ‘to enable GPs to see the context’ in which the referendum on the contract is taking place later this week.

Despite the contract being imposed, with NHS England saying it is final and will now be implemented, the GPCE will go ahead with a referendum on the contract changes 7-27 March.

The timeline, which ‘may be subject to change’ depending on the referendum result, plans for ‘potential GP industrial action across England’ to be announced in October and to commence ‘alongside the likely announcement of a late November/early December general election’ when the UK enters a period of pre-election sensitivity.

The collective action depends on the referendum outcome and on the GPCE requesting permission in July from BMA UK Council to approve options for prospective industrial action.

The timeline also said that in July the GPCE will ‘meet face to face to deliberate strategic timeline and plan for autumn action’.

An industrial action ballot is also planned for early September ‘if required’, and ‘to coincide with political party conferences’.

In November, there will likely be general election campaigns ‘with ongoing GP collective action likely coming up as a doorstep issue’, with more collective action planned for December when the election is likely to take place.

It follows a tenth round of strikes for junior doctors last week.

The timeline in full


  • Contract 2024/25 published.
  • 7 – 27 March: referendum voting open.
  • Webinars through the three-week referendum window (dates TBC).
  • 28 March: GPCE to determine next steps with referendum outcome.
  • Period of pre-election sensitivity “purdah” from 16 March comes into effect limiting announcements by arms of government ahead of the local elections in May.


  • Imposed Contract comes into effect.
  • 24/25 Contract guidance due to be produced for England LMCs and practices by GPCE.
  • GPCE vision to be compiled with support from the policy groups.


  • 2 May: local council elections 2 May.
  • 16 May: Vision document to be published at GPCE meeting.
  • 24-25 May: UK Conference LMCs with GPCE/LMC roadshow dates announced for the 10 England regions.


  • Political party manifestos likely to be published.
  • GPCE/LMC roadshows across the 10 England regions commence (dates TBC).
  • BMA to undertake focus groups on GP industrial action with public and profession to complement the roadshows in England.
  • 24-25 June: BMA Annual Representative Meeting.


  • GPCE request permission from BMA UK Council to approve option for prospective IA. GPCE will meet face to face to deliberate strategic timeline and plan for autumn action (if required).
  • Doctors and Dentists Remuneration Board (DDRB).


  • Allow time for negotiations in light of DDRB discussions to prepare communications tools and resources for use in September.


  • BMA membership push from the very start of the month, with a view to open the IA ballot by early September (if required) to coincide with political party conferences.


  • Potential GP IA across England announced and enacted timed to commence alongside likely announcement of a late November/early December general election when UK enters period of pre-election sensitivity “purdah”. This period effectively silences the Department of Health and Social Care/NHS England mandate expected for the for 2025/26 contract negotiations.


  • US Presidential elections.
  • UK general election campaigns with ongoing GP collective action likely coming up as a doorstep issue.


  • Likely general election.
  • Ongoing GP collective action.


  • 31 January: final date for a GE under current legislation.
  • Likely negotiations begin with new Government and new Health Secretary and Ministers. Whatever the shape of that new Government, the GPCE team will require a mandate and evidence of collective action to meet to negotiate the most favourable and successful outcome.

Source: BMA document published by Londonwide LMCs

A version of this story was also published on our sister title Pulse.

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