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NHS pays taxes to get doctors back to work

Surgeons performing an operationImage copyright
PA Media

Doctors in England have promised that their tax bills will be covered by the State Health Service in an attempt to return them to overtime shifts.

Doctors refuse to do extra work because they are paid the bills after making changes to how much can be accumulated in tax-free pensions.

High officials and NHS ministers signed the plan amid concerns about waiting times.

Waiting times reached a record level.

Data released last week showed that delays in A&E and routine operations were at the highest level since targets were introduced more than ten years ago.

The dispute over pension changes is considered only one of the factors in this.

But the PES leaders are pushing ministers to agree to a short-term settlement, as pressure builds up on the eve of winter.

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Getty images

The proposal would mean that doctors can borrow money from their pension funds to pay the tax bills they receive next year.

The NHS will then replenish their retirement funds before retirement, which means that the cost of this measure for the health service will be distributed over time until the doctors are left without funds.

Extraordinary measures will be applied only during the 2019-20 tax year.

The Treasury is still looking at how pension changes were implemented, trying to find a lasting solution before the start of the next fiscal year in April.

How have pension rules changed?

The amount that people can put on a tax-free pension has been reduced for all workers.

In 2010-2011, it amounted to 255,000 pounds, but now it is reduced to 40,000 pounds a year – and even lower for the highest paid.

The changes typically affect those who earn more than £ 110,000, about a third of senior doctors and general practitioners.

A number of short-term corrections have already been tested, including giving employees the opportunity to temporarily abandon the scheme and receive any retirement benefits that they could instead include in their payout package.

But this had a limited impact on the standoff, forcing NHS England to agree to the final step.

There are differences in how pensions work elsewhere in the UK, although tax-free benefits have been reduced in each country.

Currently, only the NHS in England has taken this step.

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