Tax bills to be paid to get doctors back to work

English doctors have been promised that their tax bills will be covered by the NHS in an attempt to get them back doing overtime shifts.

Many doctors have been refusing to do extra work because of changes to how much can be accrued in pensions tax-free, meaning they were being landed with bills. But now, senior NHS figures and ministers have signed off on the plan amid concern about the impact on waiting times.

The proposal will mean doctors can take money out of their pension pots to pay the tax bills they get next year. The NHS will then top up their pension pots before retirement, meaning the cost of the measure to the health service will be spread out over time while doctors will not be out of pocket. This will only apply for the 2019-21 tax year.

The row over the pension changes is considered to be just one factor in the recent waiting times, which were the worst levels on record.

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